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Stay Current on Your Rivers with USGS WaterNow



Stay Current on Your Rivers with USGS WaterNow

For the first time, anyone can find out the current conditions on thousands of rivers and streams across the country, right from their phone, using USGS’ latest system WaterNow. WaterNow makes the water conditions monitored by more than 16,000 streamgages and other sites across the country available via text or email. 

Like its predecessor and companion program, WaterAlert, WaterNow seeks to make USGS gage information for streamflow, groundwater levels, springs, water quality, and lake levels more readily available to the general public. These data have been available for over 10 years at USGS Water Data for the Nation, which requires a web browser to access.

“USGS is the world’s largest provider of hydrologic information, and our streamgages are a vital part of that water infrastructure,” said USGS Associate Director for Water Bill Werkheiser. “WaterNow brings that information straight from our streamgages to your smartphone, and keeps USGS data flowing at the cutting edge.”

Knowing about current water conditions is important for a variety of purposes, from disaster planning and response to recreation. For example, water levels in streams can be checked during floods to guide evacuations or on a bright weekend morning to plan a day of paddling. 

Land and resource managers can benefit from WaterNow too. Not only can water levels be obtained, but also water temperatures can be checked to determine when it is necessary to release water from a reservoir to protect downstream trout fisheries.

WaterNow expands on the service provided by the USGS WaterAlert service. WaterAlert provides a notification only when conditions exceed a threshold set by a user, whereas WaterNow provides data anytime on demand.  These data are collected typically at 15 to 60-minute intervals, stored onsite, and then transmitted to USGS offices every hour.

So how does it work? It’s easy! All you have to do is find the gage you are interested in using instructions found on the WaterNow page, and then send a message to WaterNow@usgs.gov with the site number of the gage you would like to get updates from.

You will receive a reply within a few minutes that includes the most recent values of water level and streamflow, if available for that site.  These data are by far the mostly frequently requested; therefore, they have been pre-set as defaults.  Data values are also available for other kinds of data-collection sites such as wells, springs, and lakes.

For complete instructions and guides on what types of data might be useful to you or which streamgages might be of interest to you, visit the USGS WaterNow site!

USGS Newsroom



More information

Parameter Value Description
Magnitude mb The magnitude for the event.
Longitude ° East Decimal degrees longitude. Negative values for western longitudes.
Latitude ° North Decimal degrees latitude. Negative values for southern latitudes.
Depth km Depth of the event in kilometers.
Place Textual description of named geographic region near to the event. This may be a city name, or a Flinn-Engdahl Region name.
Time 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event occurred. UTC/GMT
Updated 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event was most recently updated. UTC/GMT
Timezone offset Timezone offset from UTC in minutes at the event epicenter.
Felt The total number of felt reports
CDI The maximum reported intensity for the event.
MMI The maximum estimated instrumental intensity for the event.
Alert Level The alert level from the PAGER earthquake impact scale. Green, Yellow, Orange or Red.
Review Status Indicates whether the event has been reviewed by a human.
Tsunami This flag is set to "1" for large events in oceanic regions and "0" otherwise. The existence or value of this flag does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist.
SIG A number describing how significant the event is. Larger numbers indicate a more significant event.
Network The ID of a data contributor. Identifies the network considered to be the preferred source of information for this event.
Sources A comma-separated list of network contributors.
Number of Stations Used The total number of Number of seismic stations which reported P- and S-arrival times for this earthquake.
Horizontal Distance Horizontal distance from the epicenter to the nearest station (in degrees).
Root Mean Square sec The root-mean-square (RMS) travel time residual, in sec, using all weights.
Azimuthal Gap The largest azimuthal gap between azimuthally adjacent stations (in degrees).
Magnitude Type The method or algorithm used to calculate the preferred magnitude for the event.
Event Type Type of seismic event.
Event ID Id of event.
Event Code An identifying code assigned by, and unique from, the corresponding source for the event.
Event IDS A comma-separated list of event ids that are associated to an event.

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