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Kentucky Water Science Center

Kentucky Water Resources Program

The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is to serve the Nation by providing reliable, impartial scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life. Message from our Director......


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Real-Time Data for Kentucky

NOTICE: Recently discontinued and threatened USGS streamgages in Kentucky. Click here for more information.


Historical Data


Current Water Conditions

Current streamflow conditions in Kentucky; click to go to a larger map.

National Water Conditions


Hydrology Tools

USGS Kentucky stream-flow gage locations map - click for larger image

For those unable to view the graphical map, the same information is available via the USGS-KY NWISWeb site inventory page.


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Science Highlights

new image graphic Flood-Inundation Maps for a 6.5-Mile Reach of the Kentucky River at Frankfort, Kentucky

Digital flood-inundation maps for a 6.5-mile reach of Kentucky River at Frankfort, Kentucky, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the City of Frankfort Office of Emergency Management.

The inundation maps, available through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Science Web site, depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgage Kentucky River at Lock 4 at Frankfort, Kentucky, and include HAZUS , a tool used to to estimate physical, economic, and social impacts of disasters; HAZUS is used for mitigation and recovery as well as preparedness and response.

In addition, the information has been provided to the National Weather Service (NWS) for incorporation into their Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) flood warning system. The NWS forecasts flood hydrographs at many places that are often colocated at USGS streamgages. The forecasted peak-stage information, also available on the Internet, may be used in conjunction with the maps developed in this study to show predicted areas of flood inundation. Read more.......

map of the City Of Frankfort study area

Flood-inundation map for Frankfort, Kentucky, corresponding to a stage of 52.00 feet and an elevation of 513.38 feet (NAVD 88) at U.S. Geological Survey streamgage number 03287500 Kentucky River at Lock 4 at Frankfort, Kentucky. [Click to view larger image]


Assessment of Pesticides, Nutrients, and Suspended Sediment of the Little River Basin, Kentucky

Surface water and ground water in the Little River Basin, because of the presence of karst topography, are vulnerable to applications of chemicals associated with both agricultural and urban activities, such as pesticides and fertilizers. The potential contamination of streams and ground water by pesticides, fertilizers, and sediment is a major concern to human and aquatic health. State water-quality agencies have identified nutrient enrichment, siltation, and pathogens as water-quality issues affecting surface waters in the Little River Basin. The lack of a substantial water-quality database for the Little River Basin, and concerns about the potential impacts of pesticides on human health, as well as on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems have led to the need for further evaluation of the water quality in the Little River Basin. Read more.....


map of the Little River Basin study area

Map of the Little River Basin study area


Flood-Inundation Maps of the South Fork Little River at Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Digital flood-inundation maps for an 8.9-mile reach of South Fork Little River at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the City of Hopkinsville Community Development Services .

These flood-inundation maps, along with online information regarding current stages from USGS streamgage and forecasted stages from the National Weather Service (NWS), provide emergency management and local residents with critical information for flood response activities such as evacuations, road closures, and post-flood recovery efforts.

The inundation maps depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgage at South Fork Little River at Highway 68 By-Pass at Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Read more....



Kentucky Water Science Center Annual Cooperators Meeting

The USGS Kentucky Water Science Center (WSC) hosted its 2nd annual Hydrologic Monitoring Network Partner Meeting at their facility on June 11, 2013. The partners in attendance represented federal, state, and local agencies.

Presentations included a basic overview of the WSC’s Surface Water, Groundwater, and Water-Quality programs. Presentations for specific local and national projects included, Groundwater Capabilities of the Kentucky WSC, Flood Inundation, Rough River Dam, National Stream Quality Assessment Network (NASQAN)/Midwest Stream Quality Assessment (MSQA), and Streamstats.

Presentations from the 1st annual meeting, June 7, 2012 can be viewed here

Project Archive

Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells near Fort Knox

Maxey Flats Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site

Groundwater Resources Program Karst Hydrology Initiative

Ohio River Alluvial Aquifer - Groundwater Network

Record Groundwater Levels in the Louisville Area [March 2012]


Collaborative Projects

Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources


Screenshot of the WATER application GUI (Photo by USGS KY WSC)

The Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER) was developed in cooperation with the Kentucky Division of Water to provide a consistent and defensible method of estimating streamflow, water availability, and other hydrologic information in ungaged basins.

WATER automatically incorporates and processes large amounts of basic and custom geospatial data to quantitatively describe topography, soil-water storage, climate, streamflow, and other parameters. WATER is also designed so that it can be expanded for other science and regulatory applications including, but not limited to, sediment and nutrient loads, evaluation of surface mining effects (Cumulative Hydrologic Impact Assessments), as well as flows that are necessary for ecological viability.

The concept of the Kentucky WATER application was born from the need to quantify water availability in areas of the Kentucky Commonwealth with limited long-term monitoring data. Kentucky's wealth of geospatial data was critical to the Kentucky WATER application and enabled USGS scientists to take well-known streamflow generation and modeling concepts (Beven and Kirby, 1979), develop innovative data-processing methods, and apply the concept across all regions of Kentucky with much greater accuracy and precision than had been previously possible.

View the project page link above to learn more about how the USGS can help you manage your water resources by providing custom input data, user-friendly interfaces, and tailored output to meet your specific management needs through "WATER".




Kentucky Agriculture Science and Monitoring Committee


Photo  of a tobacco field

The Kentucky Agriculture Science and Monitoring Committee (KASMC) is a partnership of national, state, and local agencies dedicated to coordinating agricultural science and monitoring efforts in Kentucky in order to promote sustainable farming and a healthy environment


National Projects

U.S. Geological Survey Flood Inundation Mapping Science

screen shot of Flood Inundation Map

Estimation of Nutrient and Sediment Loading in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basins with Regional SPARROW Models

screen shot of SPARROW application


Program Cooperators


Commonwealth Highlights

U.S. Geological Survey Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center Commonwealth Strategic Science Plan, 2012-2017


The USGS Indiana and Kentucky WSCs work together closely, under one Director, within a “Commonwealth” model. The Indiana-Kentucky WSC Commonwealth is organized with a Deputy Director in each State office who reports to the Director. Technical and support staff in each State report to the Deputy Director. The combined staff of the Commonwealth is approximately 100 employees, which is composed of hydrologists, research hydrologists, hydrologic technicians, biologists, geospatial specialists, management, administration, and information technology support personnel. The USGS Indiana WSC office is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The USGS Kentucky WSC consists of three offices: Louisville, Kentucky (main office), Murray, Ky. (field office), and Williamsburg, Ky. (field office). Read more......

Center for Applied Hydrologic Solutions


The Center for Applied Hydrologic Solutions (CAHS) is jointly located within the USGS Kentucky and Indiana Water Science Centers in Louisville, Kentucky and Indianapolis, Indiana respectively. CAHS is dedicated to developing high-end spatial and information-technology applications that leverage defensible USGS science to create partner-driven applications that pair with modern technologies.


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Page Last Modified: Thursday, April 10, 2014 9:03 AM