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USGS Water Resources of California
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Surface Water Stations
Number: Location: Cooperating Agencies: Project Chief: Period of Project:
CA001 Statewide Various state, local, and federal agencies Robert Mason Continuing

Problem: Surface - water information is needed for planning, design, hazard warning, and operation and management in water - related fields such as water supply, hydroelectric power, flood control, irrigation, bridge and culvert design, wildlife management, pollution abatement, flood-plain management, and water-resources development. Appropriate historical and real-time databases are necessary to provide this information.

Objective: Collect timely and high quality surface-water data for (1) assessment of water resources; (2) operation of reservoirs or industries; (3) forecasting flow; (4) disposal of wastes and pollution controls; (5) discharge data to accompany water-quality measurement; (6) compact and legal requirements; and (7) research or special studies. Collect data necessary for analytical studies to define the statistical properties of, and trends in, the occurrence of water in streams, lakes, and estuaries for use in planning and design.

Relevance and Benefits: An important part of the USGS mission is to continually assess the surface-water resources of the Nation. To do this effectively, the USGS operates more than 7,000 stream, lake, and reservoir gages nationally, makes periodic flow measurements on rivers and streams using standardized methods, maintains the data from these gages in a national data base, makes these data available on the world wide web (WWW), and publishes the data for each State annually. Continuous records of discharge are defined using stage-discharge relations in conjunction with recorded stage records. Flow data from about 60 percent of the gage sites are delivered on a real-time basis to customers and the public on the WWW, which is critical to the most effective management of the Nation's vital resources. These data are needed to develop information about flow characteristics that can be used for overall planning and managing of water-resources projects and regulatory programs, such as flood warning and assessment, reservoir operations, setting and monitoring water-quality standards, designing bridges and culverts, evaluating the effects of changing land use, detecting long-term changes in climate, and administering compacts, decrees, and (or) treaties on interstate and international bodies of water. The stream, lake, and reservoir gages operated in this State are an integral part of the national surface-water network.

Approach: Standard methods of data collection will be used as described in the series "Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations of the U.S. Geological Survey" and the "Surface-Water Quality- Assurance Plan for the California District of the U.S. Geological Survey" (USGS OFR 96-618). Partial-record gaging is used instead of continuous-record gaging where it serves the required purpose. Streamflow records furnished to the USGS by cooperating agencies and quality-assured by the USGS will be accepted and incorporated into the database.

Progress and Significant Results in FY 2001: Surface-water data for 855 continuous-record streamflow stations and 144 reservoir stations were collected, reviewed, and compiled for publication. Of this total the USGS operated 417 streamflow stations and various public utilities and state and local agencies furnished streamflow records for 438 stations. Installation of 106 additional satellite data-collection platforms for real-time transmission of streamflow information continued. Data for 325 sites (78% of those operated by the USGS) were posted on the web. Data for water year 2000 were published in four volumes of the annual data-report series. Flow measurements for selected rivers were made with Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP's) and some stations were equipped with slidelooking ADCPs for velocity index flow computations during backwater conditions.

Plans for FY 2002:Continue network operation. Improve furnished records by offering cooperators more training; increase quality- assurance efforts; and improve coordination with FERC. Revise District Surface-Water Quality-Assurance Plan and Flood Response Plans. Purchase at least one more ADCP and expand use of ADCP capabilities. Initiate flow measurements with an experimental radar-based flow measurement system at the San Joaquin River at Vernalis.

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