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Water Survey

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  • Soils are wetter in Illinois from mid-May showers

    Recent rains have caused soil moisture levels to rise in most of Illinois, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Water Supply Planning team helps Illinois meet water needs

    Due to projected growth of the population and economy, Illinois could require 20 to 50 percent more water in coming decades. Ensuring adequate and reliable supplies of clean water for all requires us to think ahead. We need to know how much water will be available, how much water we will need, what the options are for providing additional supplies, reducing demand, and what the impacts and costs will be.

    Since 2006 the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has tasked the Water Survey with leading regional water supply planning activities for 11 Illinois regions. Learn more about the team that carries out this important activity.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks in McHenry County, Illinois

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

  • April's temperature roller coaster ends colder, wetter than average

    According to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford, April ended colder and wetter than average across the state. The preliminary statewide average April temperature was 49.2 degrees, 3.4 degrees below the 30-year normal and tied for the 27th coldest on record going back to 1895. The preliminary statewide average total April precipitation was 4.36 inches, 0.58 inches above than the 30-year normal and the 43rd wettest on record.

  • State Climatologist reported that April temperatures and precipitation fluctuated in Illinois

    The preliminary statewide average April temperature was 49.2 degrees, 3.4 degrees below the 30-year normal and tied for the 27th coldest on record going back to 1895. The preliminary statewide average total April precipitation was 4.36 inches, 0.58 inches above than the 30-year normal and the 43rd wettest on record.

  • Illinois’ soils are cooler and drier in mid-April

    Colder weather entering Illinois has caused soil temperatures to fall, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • GIS topographic tool is applied statewide

    The Water Survey uses a GIS analysis tool called the Topographic Wetness Index to identify low-lying areas that could be subject to ponding during rain events. The index is particularly important because areas of low terrain with upslope—conditions that contributes to drainage areas—can be spotted outside of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mapped floodplain areas.

  • Ask me anything: WARM team

    Environmental chemist Jennie Atkins manages the Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program, which monitors and measures Illinois' waters, soils, and climate. WARM works with municipalities, industries, state agencies, and environmental groups to develop monitoring plans to address major watershed issues. 

  • Rethinking short-term droughts in Illinois

    While there is no universally accepted definition of drought, contemporary definitions look at a percentage of precipitation over a protracted period of time, in most cases over the course of a year. Some say this approach leaves people and communities vulnerable to a different type of drought – flash droughts.

  • March was warmer with above average precipitation in Illinois

    March was warmer and wetter than average across the state, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford.

  • 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.