Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Water

Water is a vital resource. Finding adequate potable water supplies for a rapidly growing human population and economically important farm animal population is a major challenge facing the County. An equally important and related challenge is protecting our water resources from a growing human population and the impact of a robust agricultural economy.

Water | Surface water
In which watershed do I live? How many other people live in the watershed? What land uses are common in my watershed? The Chesapeake Bay Program has the answer. Simply scroll down to the Find Your Watershed section and enter your ZIP code. Also, see the Watersheds of Lancaster County map.

The amount of water flowing in Lancaster County rivers and creeks is monitored by the United States Geologic Survey (USGS.) The monitoring locations are called gage stations. The USGS maintains gage stations on the Conestoga River (in two locations), the Little Conestoga Creek (a tributary of the Conestoga River) and the Susquehanna River at Marietta. Also included is a link to the USGS gage station on the Susquehanna River at nearby Conowingo, Maryland.

Gage stations report discharge, which is the volume of water per unit time (cubic feet of water per second, cfs) and stage which is the depth of water at the gage station. Data from stations are available in three forms:

Real-time data – all data from up to the last 31 days
Recent daily – daily mean discharge for the up to the last 730 days
Daily stream flow – historic records of stream flow

Gage Station, Conestoga River, Lancaster City
Real-time data | Recent daily data | Daily stream flow

Gage Station, Conestoga River, Conestoga Township
Real-time data | Recent daily data | Daily stream flow

Gage Station, Little Conestoga Creek, near Millersville
Real time data | Recent daily data | Daily stream flow

 
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Franklin and Marshall students and faculty collaborate with the US Geological Survey scientists on research projects related to data from the Little Conestoaga gage station. F&M student Graham Boardman (above) has work with the USGS doing sediment loads studies at the Little Conestoga Gage station.
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The pipes house the instruments that measure water depth, temperature and sediment load.

 

 

Gage Station, Susquehanna River at Marietta
Real-time data | Recent daily data | Daily stream flow

Gage Station, Susquehanna River, Coniwingo, MD
Real-time data | Recent daily data | Daily stream flow

Locations of all USGS gage stations in Pennsylvania


Water | Groundwater levels
Groundwater levels are monitored by the US Geological Survey. The monitoring station for Lancaster County is located on state game lands in northeast Lancaster County. The station monitors the depth to groundwater below the surface.
Real-time data | Recent daily data | Groundwater levels

Index of all groundwater monitoring stations currently active in Pennsylvania
Located by County


Water | Water quality
National Water Quality Assessment for the Lower Susquehanna River Basin, prepared by the United States Geologic Survey provides a summary of water quality issues.

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2012 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report   
Lancaster City is the largest purveyor of drinking water in the County. The city provides water to over 107,000 residents in central Lancaster County. Lancaster City operates water treatment plants on the Conestoga and Susquehanna Rivers. This link connects you to water quality test results mandated by the Safe Drinking Water Act for city water.


 
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Tucquan Creek offers outstanding scenic resources.

Water | Water planning
The Lancaster County Water Resources Plan (1996) was developed by the Lancaster County Planning Commission’s Water Resource Taskforce and is a blueprint for the future of water resources in the county.

Blueprints: An Integrated Water Resources Plan, 2012

Two County streams, Tucquan Creek and Octoraro Creek are part of Pennsylvania’s Scenic Rivers Program.

Scenic Rivers Octoraro

Scenic Rivers Tucquan