USGS Seeking Information on New Technologies for National Water Observing System

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As part of the development of the US Geological Survey's Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS), the agency is seeking information from industry, academic, non-profit, and research organizations on innovative technologies that should be included in the System. These technologies include those that enhance the collection of data on surface and groundwater use, quality, and quantity across the US. A modernized USGS National Water Information System will provide access to the data and offer advanced modeling tools to inform daily water operations, emergency decision-making, assessments of past trends, and forecasts of future water availability. 

NGWOS aims to foster the innovation and development of monitoring technologies and methodologies to make data more affordable and available more rapidly. Monitoring innovations also are expected to lead to more types of data at higher temporal and spatial frequencies. The application and benefits of these innovations will extend beyond the NGWOS watersheds and be incorporated into the routine operation of USGS monitoring networks. When fully implemented, the NGWOS will provide high temporal and spatial resolution data on streamflow, evapotranspiration, snowpack, soil moisture, water quality, groundwater/surface-water connections, stream velocity distribution, sediment transport, and water use. USGS partner and stakeholder needs are helping to inform the NGWOS design so that data and information generated by the NGWOS will help them anticipate water shortages more accurately and react to water hazards more quickly.

An NGWOS pilot in the Delaware River Basin is providing an opportunity to develop the NGWOS in a nationally important, complex interstate river system. In November 2019, a basin-the Upper Colorado River Basin-was selected for inclusion in the NGWOS. This basin will provide an opportunity to improve regional water prediction in snowmelt dominated systems. 

This Request for Information (RFI) is to help identify promising technologies or interested partners who are capable of jointly developing technologies that can integrate with current USGS research and development. Technologies of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Non-contact sensing for velocity, stage, and water temperature;
  • Long-range, low-power observation network technologies;
  • Instrumentation for monitoring hydrologic budgets (ET, soil moisture, snowpack, and water-use);
  • New sensors for monitoring continuous water-quality, including sediment, nutrients, contaminants, and environmental DNA;
  • Mobile autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and drifters for water quality and flow monitoring;
  • Webcams and drone-mounted sensors for operational and science applications; and
  • Innovative technologies for detecting and monitoring hazards such as spills and harmful algal blooms (HABs).

Responses must be submitted by December 31, 2019. More information about the RFI can be found on the USGS website.

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