Water Science for Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia
October 2016 Water Conditions Summary
Forty-three percent of the groundwater levels and 52 percent of monthly mean streamflows were normal (25th-75th percentiles) in October at sites used to monitor the response of water resources to changes in climatic conditions in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
Groundwater levels were normal at 12 of the 28 USGS observation wells, and below normal at 7 wells, 3 of which were below the 10th percentile. Groundwater levels were at a record high at one observation well and above the 90th percentile at two wells.
Monthly mean streamflow was normal at 17 of the 33 streamgages used to monitor climatic conditions. Streamflow was at an October record high at four streamgages, and above normal at another five streamgages. Streamflow was below normal at seven 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.
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.