Proposed 2013 Budget Would Have Impact on NAWQA Program

Because of state interest in the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program, USGS has provided information to make us aware of the Administration’s proposed budget for 2013 and the impacts it would have on the program. In short, the proposed budget for the NAWQA Program is $56.3 million which is a reduction of $6.3 million from the 2012 appropriation. The FY 2013 Budget also proposes a total of $5 million in additional funding to the NAWQA Program for support of the Interior Department’s WaterSMART and USGS Priority Ecosystems with designations for specific water-quality projects and activities.

Funding at this reduced level would:

  • Support only 85 of the 313 recommended stream, river, and drinking-water-supply monitoring sites in the NAWQA surface-water monitoring network.
  • Support sampling of 375 (30 percent) of the 1,200 wells in aquifer systems that are the most important sources of drinking water for the Nation.
  • Delay the development and use of new laboratory methods to assess the occurrence of new pesticides and unregulated contaminants, including many pharmaceuticals, hormones, antibiotics, and high production volume chemicals that could impact streams and groundwater.
  • Reduce the capability to install advanced sensor technology to monitor fluctuations in the quality of the Nation’s rivers and streams for nutrients, sediment, and other substances on a real-time basis—information that is used for health and recreation decisions and short-term forecasts of future water-quality conditions.
  • Eliminate assessment activities in one or more large (2,500 to 25,000 mi2) watersheds to understand the effects of management practices on the movement of nutrients, sediment, and other contaminants and their resulting effects on stream ecosystems.
  • Eliminate or reduce a collaborative study with other federal and State agencies to assess the causes of ecosystem degradation in streams and rivers of the Midwest.

Slow the development and application of predictive models, such as those currently being used to guide conservation investments to high priority areas in the Mississippi River Basin and Chesapeake Bay watershed.