USGS Launches New System to View Current Conditions of Rivers and Streams

WaterNow, a new system launched by the USGS allows anyone to find out the current conditions of thousands of rivers and streams across the country, right from their phones.

WaterNow makes the water conditions monitored by more than 16,000 stream gages and other sites across the country available via text or email. The system seeks to make the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gage information for streamflow, groundwater levels, springs, water quality, and lake levels more readily available to the general public.

“USGS is the world's largest provider of hydrologic information, and our stream gages are a vital part of that water infrastructure," said USGS Associate Director for Water, Bill Werkheiser. "WaterNow brings that information straight from our stream gages to your smartphone and keeps USGS data flowing at the cutting edge."

Knowing about current water conditions is important for a variety of purposes, from disaster planning and response to recreation. Water levels in streams can be checked during floods to guide evacuations or on a bright weekend morning to plan a day of paddling. Not only can water levels be obtained, but also water temperatures can be checked to determine when it is necessary to release water from a reservoir to protect downstream trout fisheries.

To use WaterNow, all you have to do is find the gage you are interested in by using instructions found on the WaterNow page, and then send a message to with the site number of the gage you would like to get updates from.