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New England Water Science Center - Rhode Island Office

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Scituate Reservoir, Rhode Island


Water Resources of Rhode Island

Welcome to the New England Water Science Center - Rhode Island Office web page. This is your direct link to water-resource information on Rhode Island's rivers and streams, groundwater, water quality, and biology. Data collection and interpretive studies are done by the Center to support state-wide water-resource infrastructure and management needs and are part of the USGS science strategy to address the water-resource priorities of the nation and global trends in:

    • Ecosystem status and change
    • Climate variability and change
    • Energy and mineral management
    • National hazard risk and assessment
    • Environmental risk to human health
    • Water use and availability

Monthly Water-Conditions Statements:

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Annual Water Data Reports

USGS WaterAlert:

The U.S. Geological Survey WaterAlert service sends e-mail or text messages when certain parameters measured by a USGS data-collection station exceed user-definable thresholds.

USGS StreaMail:

 Use the USGS system to request real-time stream stage and flow data by email from your computer, cell phone or Blackberry. Send an email to and in the "Subject" line, put in a USGS station (site) number. In a few minutes, you'll get back an email with the most recent stream stage and flow.

RI Water Sciences

The USGS Rhode Island Office monitors and analyzes surface water, groundwater, water-quality and biological parameters throughout the state. Data collection and interpretive studies are done in cooperation with various local, State, or Federal agencies.

Find out about the N.J. surface-water monitoring network

Surface Water

Rhode Island provides real-time water-stage and streamflow data at over 140 sites across the state. Flood prediction, stream low-flow characteristics and surface-quality are currently under investigation in 28 studies.


Twenty-two groundwater wells are monitored hourly by the USGS in Rhode Island. Over 30 current groundwater investigations evaluate groundwater-supply and groundwater-quality issues.

Water Quality

Water-quality conditions are continuously monitored by the USGS at 42 sites across the state of Rhode Island. Water-quality issues in groundwater and surface water are addressed in over 30 current interpretive studies.


Interpretive studies based on periodic monitoring address aquatic life impairments resulting from the impact of hydrologic stresses.

Featured Project

Field Characterization and Numerical Simulation of Groundwater and Surface Water Interactions in Rhode Island Wetlands: Big River Watershed Case Study

Wetland sediment coring

Big River Watershed - wetland sediment coring

Water demand in Rhode Island is increasing, and the Rhode Island Water Resources Board (RIWRB), which is responsible developing and protecting the State's major water resources, is concerned that this increasing demand may exceed the current capacity. Nearly all of the potable groundwater supplies identified in Rhode Island are found in shallow, river-dominated valley-fill aquifer systems, such as the Big River Watershed in central Rhode Island. There are concerns about potential effects of groundwater withdrawals on the hydrology of streams and wetlands. These concerns have created the need for a better understanding of the interaction between groundwater and surface water in wetlands in order to better assess potential effects of pumping on wetlands.

Find out more

USGS Highlighted Publications

Open–File Report 2015–1127
Hydrologic conditions in Rhode Island during water year 2014

Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5058
Water–quality trends in the Scituate reservoir drainage area, Rhode Island, 1983–2012

Open–File Report 2015–5026
Streamflow, water quality, and constituent loads and yields, Scituate Reservoir drainage area, Rhode Island, water year 2013

Fact Sheet 2015–3035
Scientific information in support of water resource management of the Big River area, Rhode Island

Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5026
Nutrient, suspended sediment, and trace element loads in the Blackstone River Basin in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, 2007 to 2009

Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5216
Areas contributing recharge to production wells and effects of climate change on the groundwater system in the Chipuxet River and Chickasheen Brook Basins, Rhode Island

Open–File Report 2014–1003
Hydrologic Drought Decision Support System (HyDroDSS):

Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5037
Statistics for stochastic modeling of volume reduction, hydrograph extension, and water–quality treatment by structural stormwater runoff best management practices (BMPs)

Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5010
Equations for estimating selected streamflow statistics in Rhode Island

Link to Full Bibliography

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 05-Jan-2017 11:14:01 EST