USGS - science for a changing world

General Information Product 70

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The National Streamflow Information Program


Provide the streamflow information and understanding required to meet local, State, regional, and national needs.


What is streamflow?

Streamflow is the amount of water moving in a stream or river past a given point through time and is typically reported in cubic feet per second, or million gallons per day. You can see the amount of water currently flowing in a river near where you live or elsewhere in the Nation by going to

The USGS currently operates about 7,500 streamgages nationwide. Streamgages are the monitoring tools used to track the movement of water in streams and rivers.

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How is streamflow measured?

Streamflow information is usually obtained by

This information is then available to users in real-time 24 hours a day.

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How is streamflow information used? Flood planning and warning Streamflow forecasting Impact on streamflow from Design of Water-resource appraisal and allocations Operation of locks and dams Power production Water-quality evaluations Habitat assessments Recreation safety and enjoyment

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Photo courtesy of Vom Dart Haus German Shepherds

“Nationwide, the benefits........greatly exceed the cost of collecting the data through NSIP.”

National Hydrologic Warning Council, 2006

When fully implemented, NSIP will provide Nation-wide streamflow information and understanding needed by a wide range of users. See

For current streamflow conditions

To learn more about USGS surface water and streamgaging activities, visit:

For real-time streamflow data

For historical streamflow data

For surface-water information

Download the NSIP Brochure-1 (5,72 MB)

Download the NSIP Brochure-2 (5,45 MB)

For more information please contact:

Mike Norris, Coordinator
National Streamflow Information Program

Steve Blanchard, Chief
Office of Surface Water

Office of Surface Water

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 10-Jan-2013 11:36:43 EST