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Water Survey

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  • Team spotlight: Climate and Atmospheric Science

    The Water Survey’s Climate and Atmospheric Science team investigates the potential statewide impacts of climate change, including extreme precipitation changes (flooding, drought), availability of atmospheric resources for green energy generation, changes in the urban heat island, and integration of climate models into systems that take into account human population growth, health, and activities.

  • ISWS kicks off 125th anniversary year

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) held the first of five statewide events commemorating 125 Years of Water and Weather on Feb. 4 in Champaign.

  • Warmer, wetter winter leaves crop pest picture unclear

    A warmer, wetter winter has caused higher than normal soil temperatures across the state, which could be helping agriculture pests survive the season.

  • State Climatologist reports that a typical February ends an otherwise atypical winter

    February was slightly warmer and wetter than average across Illinois, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford.

  • World Data Centre for Precipitation Chemistry finds a new home at ISWS

    The Illinois State Water Survey is the new home of the World Data Centre for Precipitation Chemistry, which receives and archives precipitation chemistry data and complementary information from stations across the globe.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks in McDonough County

    The Illinois State Water Survey will be conducting hydrologic and hydraulic modeling in McDonough County, Illinois, as part of a study to help local communities identify areas of high flood risk.

  • Buying a home in Illinois? You'll need PRI for that.

    Nearly 150,000 homes were sold in Illinois last year. For every Illinois home sold, the Prairie Research Institute provides data needed for banks, title companies, insurance companies, and consumers to make informed decisions about home ownership. 

  • State Climatologist says 2020 is off to a warmer, wetter start

    According to State Climatologist Trent Ford, January 2020 was warmer and wetter than average across the state. The preliminary statewide average January temperature was 31.4 degrees, the 17th warmest on record going back to 1895. The preliminary statewide average total January precipitation was 4.41 inches, the 9th wettest on record.

  • Groundwater hydrologist is honored for contributions to the water operating profession

    Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) groundwater hydrologist Steve Wilson has received an Association of Boards of Certification’s award for advancing the water and wastewater operating profession. The Kenneth D. Kerri Excellence in Workforce Development Award was presented to Wilson for going beyond the call of duty as an educator.

  • Water Survey analyzes home water supplies

    When Illinoisans with private wells have questions about their home water supply, the Water Survey’s Public Service Lab can provide answers. Our lab can analyze water from any Illinois well, checking for parameters including calcium, magnesium, iron, arsenic, manganese, sodium, hardness, total dissolved solids, alkalinity, color, turbidity, fluoride, chloride, nitrate, and sulfate. 

  • Water Survey commemorates 125th anniversary

    A series of free half-day seminars will be offered across the state this year to commemorate the Illinois State Water Survey’s 125th anniversary. Seminars will highlight critical water, weather, and climate issues of Illinois. 

  • Warm, dry December concludes a cold, wet year

    December temperatures were well above the long-term average across the state, breaking dozens of local daily maximum and minimum temperature records. The preliminary statewide December average temperature was 35.2 degrees, about 5 degrees above the 1981-2010 normal and the 18th warmest on record. 

  • Jo Daviess County collaboration tackles water quality

    With its unique geology marked by sinkholes, crevices, and caves, Jo Daviess County is highly susceptible to water contamination. Scientists from the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) are using their expertise and collaborating with a local organization to help citizens understand water quality issues and protect their water supplies.

  • Cold November brings an end to meteorological autumn

    November temperatures were well below the long-term average across the state, breaking hundreds of local daily records. The preliminary statewide November average temperature was 35.6 degrees, about 7 degrees below our 30-year normal and tied for the ninth coldest on record.

  • Project features home assessments for flood risks

    Scientists studying and mapping flood hazards have long identified whole neighborhoods that are vulnerable to flooding, but with new data, researchers at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) can specify flood risk for individual homes and businesses.

  • Welcome new Water Survey staff!

    Since the beginning of the year the Water Survey has hired more than a dozen new people, expanding its capabilities and capacity.

  • October broke records for both heat and cold

    State Climatologist Trent Fords reports that Illinois saw highly variable temperatures in October, with record-breaking heat in the early part of the month and record-breaking cold in the latter part.

  • Soils cooler in October

    Soil temperatures have fallen across the state as October brought cooler weather, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

    Soil temperatures at 4 inches under sod averaged 57 degrees on Oct. 16, 2 degrees below the long-term average for mid-October. Temperatures have been steadily falling throughout the month, dropping 18 degrees since Oct. 1. Daily highs have ranged from the mid 50s to low 60s.

  • ISWS partnership helps prevent water shortage in Northeastern Illinois

    Facing an imminent water shortage and drilling deeper into its aquifers to meet demands, planning committees and legislators from Joliet and surrounding communities are partnering the ISWS to prevent a water crisis.

  • September heat, flooding, and drought

    September 2019 was tied for the fourth-warmest September for Illinois (state average temperatures back to 1895), and the warmest September since 1933. Precipitation varied tremendously from north to south across the state.

  • State Climatologist looks at fall freeze data

    Due to significant planting delays across most of the Midwest this year, State Climatologist Trent Ford has heard many concerns about an early fall freeze and its potential effects on immature crops. Even in normal growing seasons, an early fall freeze can cause considerable impacts and yield losses for crops.

  • Most of Illinois has warmer, drier soils in mid-September

    Warmer weather has caused higher than normal soil temperatures for Illinois, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • ISWS team wins 2019 NGWA Outstanding Groundwater Supply Project Award

    The Groundwater science team at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) has received the National Ground Water Association Outstanding Groundwater Supply Project Award for 2019 for their project Assessing At-Risk Groundwater Supply in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago

  • McConkey joins U of I group on building resilience to climate change

    Professional engineer Sally McConkey has joined the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment’s (iSEE) new Resilience Working Advisory Team (RWAT) to foster resilience to the local effects of climate change.

  • Unequal August precipitation leads to drought in Illinois

    August 2019 will be remembered for remarkable differences in monthly precipitation totals across Illinois, as well as the first appearance of drought in the state since September 2018.

  • Trent Ford named new Illinois State Climatologist

    Hydroclimatologist Trent Ford, currently an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, has been selected as the next Illinois State Climatologist, the authoritative source of weather and climate information and services for the state of Illinois. 

  • July 2019: Prolonged stretch of abnormally wet weather comes to an end

    July 2019 signaled the end of a persistent and historic stretch of abnormally wet conditions across Illinois, along with several notable periods of significantly above average temperatures.

  • Illinois soils are warmer, drier in mid-July

    Soils in mid-July are continuing to warm across the state, surpassing average temperatures from last year, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • June 2019: Stormy and wet with a warm finish

    June 2019 will be a month remembered for a continuation of above average precipitation and near to seasonably cool temperatures, despite an unseasonably warm finish.

  • Illinois soils are cooler and wetter in mid-June

    Soil temperatures are increasing after a cooling period the second week of June, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • May 2019: Exceptionally wet and stormy across Illinois

    May 2019 will be a month remembered for exceptional, record-breaking wet conditions locally, as well as an active, stormy, and at times severe weather pattern across the state.

  • Water Survey hosts National Private Well Conference

    The Illinois State Water Survey organized and hosted the 2nd National Private Well Conference May 21-23, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There were over 120 attendees from 33 states at the event, which featured 25 presentations, a driller's panel, and a dozen 5-minute lightning talks.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks along the Wabash River

    The Illinois State Water Survey (announced today that new hydrologic and hydraulic modeling of the Wabash River and select tributaries is underway as part of a study to help local communities identify high flood-risk areas within the Lower Wabash and Middle Wabash-Busseron watersheds for flood mitigation planning in Illinois.

  • Soils are warming and drying in mid-May

    After a cooling spell last weekend, soil temperatures are once again rising in Illinois, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • Researchers update Illinois standards for storm frequencies

    Researchers at the Illinois State Water Survey have recently applied newer data to update Bulletin 70, the publication that provides the state standards for expected extreme storms. Engineers who design these sewers and culverts are typically required by county or community ordinances to use data from Bulletin 70 to build adequate structures based on a predefined magnitude and duration of storms.

  • April 2019: An active weather pattern and late-season snow

    April 2019 will be a month remembered for a continuation of an active and stormy weather pattern across Illinois, with two short-lived, yet notable and uncommon late-season snow events which impacted many in the northern portions of the state.

  • Soil temperatures are warming in mid-April

    Soil temperatures are rising throughout Illinois in mid-April, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey. Soil temperatures in Illinois were near normal the first half of the month with an average of 50° at depths of 4 inches under bare soil, 1° above the long-term average.   

  • March 2019: A cold start with a stormy, wet finish to the month

    March 2019 will be a month remembered for an unseasonably cold start, followed by an active and wet weather pattern which resulted in a continuation of excess soil moisture, and major flooding events on many local streams and rivers.

  • Project maps out building footprints in Illinois to study natural disasters

    Researchers at the University of Illinois are keeping an eye on areas of Illinois that are at high risk for flooding, not only county by county, but also building by building.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks in Peoria County

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) announced today that new hydrologic and hydraulic modeling of select streams in Peoria County is underway as part of a study to help local communities identify high flood-risk areas for flood mitigation planning.

  • Bitter cold in January likely won’t reduce field crop pests in the spring

    Despite the record cold air temperatures, soil temperatures averaged slightly warmer than normal this winter. Consequently, the Arctic conditions are expected to have little effect on overwintering field crop insect pest populations.

  • Stormy, wet, and chilly February for Illinois

    February was particularly cold and stormy in Illinois, with an almost constant succession of storms resulting in moderate snow accumulations for the northern counties and persistent rain events and widespread flooding for the far southern counties.

  • Water Survey reports on water demand in Middle Illinois, Kankakee, and Rock River regions

    The Water Survey has published reports on water demand in three water supply planning regions in Illinois: the Middle Illinois (ISWS Contract Report 2018-0), Kankakee (ISWS Contract Report 2019-01), and Rock River (ISWS Contract Report 2019-02) regions.

  • Survey seeks ideas to help specialty crop growers make pest control decisions

    Researchers at the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute are developing new pest degree day tools for the state’s specialty crop growers. A short online survey offers growers the opportunity to contribute their opinions on how this information is delivered.

  • A warm start to January, followed by snow and record-breaking cold

    January 2019 will be a month remembered by an unseasonably warm start, followed by a torrent of winter storms, and ending with a monumental Arctic air outbreak that shattered many record-cold temperatures across the state.

  • Previous records slashed with monumental cold conditions in Illinois

    Illinois has been experiencing some of the coldest weather that has been seen in decades and, in some locations, ever.

  • Illinois Climate Network marks 30 years of monitoring Illinois weather and soil

    It’s been 30 years since the Illinois State Water Survey launched the Illinois Climate Network (ICN) to monitor the state’s weather and soils. The 19 ICN stations around the state collect data on wind speed and direction, air temperature, humidity, precipitation, barometric pressure, solar radiation, soil temperatures and soil moisture. Water Survey staff also calculate data on dew point, degree days, potential evapotranspiration, and temperature inversion. All of this information—an annual total of 2 million records—is used by farmers, researchers, and businesses for decision making and planning.

  • Microplastic contamination found in common source of groundwater

    A new study by PRI scientists is the first to report microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers – a groundwater source that accounts for 25 percent of the global drinking water supply.

  • Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force issues recommendations

    A task force formed by the Illinois General Assembly to identify gaps in protection of the Mahomet Aquifer has issued its final recommendations. Illinois State Water Survey hydrologist George Roadcap served as a member of the task force, and other Prairie Research Institute scientists provided data and expertise to support the group’s yearlong effort.

  • Annual precipitation records were broken across the Midwest

    More than 120 stations across the Midwest had their wettest year on record in 2018, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).