USGS - science for a changing world

Fact Sheet 2008–3031

WaterWatch—Maps, Graphs, and Tables of Current, Recent, and Past Streamflow Conditions

By Xiaodong Jian, David Wolock, and Harry Lins

Fact Sheet Cover 2008-3031 and link to report

PDF (558 KB, 2 pages)



WaterWatch ( is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) World Wide Web site that dis­plays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States. The real-time information generally is updated on an hourly basis. WaterWatch provides streamgage-based maps that show the location of more than 3,000 long-term (30 years or more) USGS streamgages; use colors to represent streamflow conditions compared to historical streamflow; feature a point-and-click interface allowing users to retrieve graphs of stream stage (water elevation) and flow; and highlight locations where extreme hydrologic events, such as floods and droughts, are occurring.

The streamgage-based maps show streamflow conditions for real-time, average daily, and 7-day average streamflow. The real-time streamflow maps highlight flood and high flow conditions. The 7-day average streamflow maps highlight below-normal and drought conditions.

WaterWatch also provides hydrologic unit code (HUC) maps. HUC-based maps are derived from the streamgage-based maps and illustrate streamflow conditions in hydrologic regions. These maps show average streamflow conditions for 1-, 7-, 14-, and 28-day periods, and for monthly average streamflow; highlight regions of low flow or hydrologic drought; and provide historical runoff and streamflow conditions beginning in 1901.

WaterWatch summarizes streamflow conditions in a region (state or hydrologic unit) in terms of the long-term typical condition at streamgages in the region. Summary tables are provided along with time-series plots that depict variations through time. WaterWatch also includes tables of current streamflow information and locations of flooding.

For more information concerning the fact sheet, please contact Harry Lins.

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