U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
For release: January 12, 2007
Contact: Harry Lins, 703-648-5712, hlins@xxxxxxxx
First Annual Streamflow
This past year has produced some
record-breaking high streamflow conditions in the Northeast, as well as
some near-record lows in other areas of the country, according to the U.S.
Geological Survey (USGS). In a new USGS publication, “Streamflow of 2006
– Water Year Summary,” changes in streamflow over the course of 2006
are examined relative to conditions over the past 75 years.
Some areas of the country experienced
higher streamflow than usual. For example, parts of New England recorded
their highest annual flows since 1930. At the same time, below normal conditions
were prevalent in Texas and other states in the central and southern Great
Plains, parts of the Southeast, and Alaska.
“Despite these regional highs
and lows, however, streamflow conditions nationwide were relatively typical,”
says Harry Lins, hydrologist with the USGS surface-water program. “We
expect in any given year that one percent of streamgages will experience
a new all-time record high or all-time record low streamflow. In 2006,
two percent of streamgages reported new record high streamflow, most of
which were in New England, and one percent of streamgages experienced new
USGS plans to provide similar summaries
every year. Robert Hirsch, Associate Director for Water, said “These types
of summaries are very important as they place annual streamflow in a historic
context and help to provide insights on whether conditions reflect short-term
(year to year or seasonal) hydrologic fluctuations or longer term, more
global influences. They reinforce the critical need for a stable streamflow
monitoring network over the long term.”
This first-ever USGS summary of
seasonal, regional, and national streamflow conditions for water year 2006
can be accessed at http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch/2006summary/.
For more than 125 years, the USGS
has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the U.S. The USGS
collects data from more than 7,400 streamgages, many of which provide real-time
data in 15 minute increments (explore this information at http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch/).
The information is routinely used for water supply and management, monitoring
floods and droughts, bridge and road design, and for many recreational
Access an even larger variety of
USGS data, such as for ground water and water quality, through the National
Water Information System Web Interface (NWISWeb), which contains over 1.5
million sites, and averages over 25 million hits per month (log onto at
USGS provides science for a changing world.
For more information, visit www.usgs.gov.
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U.S. Geological Survey, Office of Communications