In 1991, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Department of the Interior, began a National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA). The long-term goals of NAWQA are to describe the status of and trends in the quality of a large representative part of the Nation's surface- and ground-water resources and to identify all the major factors that affect the quality of these resources. In addressing these goals, NAWQA produces water-quality information that is useful to policymakers and managers at State, Federal, and local levels.
NAWQA emphasis is on regional scale water-quality problems. The program does not diminish the need for smaller scale studies and monitoring designed and conducted by State, Federal, and local agencies. NAWQA, however, provides a large-scale framework for conducting many of these activities and an understanding about regional and national water-quality conditions that cannot be acquired from these other programs and studies.
Studies of 60 hydrologic systems that include parts of most major river basins and aquifer systems are the building blocks of the national assessment. The areas of the 60 study units range in size from 1,000 to more than 60,000 square miles (mi2) and represent 60 to 70 percent of the Nation's water use and population served by public water supplies. Twenty investigations were begun in 1991, 20 investigations began in 1994, and 20 are planned to begin in 1997. The assessment activities in the Santee River Basin and Coastal Drainage began in 1994.
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|tableOfContents||<ul><li>The Santee Basin And Coastal Drainage</li><li>Major Water-Quality Issues </li><li>Communication and Coordination </li></ul>|