Nevada Water Science Center

Water Quality

Water quality is the suitability of water for a specific use, such as drinking water. Water quality is determined by comparing measured constituents to established standards and guidelines. Water quality of the streams and lakes in Nevada can vary significantly in different parts of the State as well as during different times of the year. Some aspects of water quality, such as specific conductance and temperature, can be measured on a real time basis. Other constituents, such as certain chemicals, are collected in water samples and sent to a laboratory.

Water-Quality Research in Nevada


In-situ arsenic remediation in Carson Valley, Douglas County, west-central Nevada

In situ arsenic removal in an alkaline clastic aquifer


Mercury in the Carson River


Algal Studies, East Fork Carson River

Groundwater Nitrogen Budget for Carson Valley

National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program

The National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) is the primary source of long-term, nationwide information on the quality of streams, ground water, and aquatic ecosystems. In more than 50 major river basins and aquifers across the nation, USGS scientists collect and assess information on water chemistry, hydrology, land use, stream habitat, and aquatic life.

The NAWQA Nevada Basin and Range (NVBR) study unit includes three hydrographic basins and adjacent areas: (1) the Las Vegas Valley area, (2) the Carson River Basin, and (3) the Truckee River Basin. The Las Vegas Valley area is in southern Nevada and the Carson and Truckee River Basins are in northwestern Nevada and northeastern California. The basins were selected for investigation because they (1) contain more than 90 percent of Nevada's population; (2) include geologic features, climate, vegetation, and hydrology representative of Basin and Range physiography; (3) include areas where rapid urban and suburban population growth has increased competition for limited water supplies; and (4) contain various natural- and human-caused water-quality problems.

Additional Water-Quality Information

Bureau of Safe Drinking Water - Nevada

USEPA drinking water criteria

Information about Impaired waters: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency :: Nevada Division of Environmental Protection

USGS Methods for the Collection of Water Quality Samples


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page Contact Information: Nevada Water Science Center Web Team
page Last Modified: January 11, 2013