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January 2016 Water Conditions Summary

In January, 81 percent of the groundwater levels and 82 percent of the monthly mean streamflows were normal at sites used to monitor the response of water resources to changes in climatic conditions in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.

Graph showing percentiles for monthly water conditions

High snowfall prevented access to eight wells at the end of January, so groundwater measurements were made at the beginning of February and counted as the end of January measurements. Groundwater levels were normal (between the 25th and 75th percentiles) in 21 of 26 USGS monitoring wells in Maryland and Delaware. Groundwater levels were above normal in four wells, including a presumed record January high at the observation well in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. One USGS observation well in Baltimore County, Maryland was below normal.

January monthly mean streamflow levels were normal at 27 of 33 streamgages in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Streamflow was above normal at two streamgages and below normal at four streamgages.

*A percentile is a value on a scale from 0 to 100 that indicates the percent of a distribution that is equal to or below it. A percentile between 25 and 75 is considered normal. For example, a groundwater level in the 90th percentile is equal to or greater than 90 percent of the values recorded for that month.

To view more detailed information about Monthly Water Conditions in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, use the navigation menu on the left.

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Why is it important for the USGS to collect and analyze water resources data?

USGS water data are valuable to the public, researchers, water managers, planners, and agricultural users, especially during floods and droughts. These data can be used to assess how water resources respond to changes in climate. Scientists at the USGS have measured streamflow and groundwater levels in wells to assess water resources for over 125 years.

In addition to providing the most extensive set of historical streamflow and groundwater data available to the public, the USGS collects water data and quality-assures the data by employing standardized techniques across the country. The uniformity of the dataset allows for multi-state comparisons and other comparative statistical analyses that better inform policy makers of the possible water resource conditions they might encounter in the future.

The sites used in this water summary were carefully selected to show the response of streamflow and groundwater levels to precipitation. Ideally, these sites will show minimal effects from human influences. The streamflow and groundwater data are ranked in comparison to the historical record and summarized. Precipitation and reservoir data are also presented to give a more complete picture of the region’s water resources.

 


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