About The Illinois State Water Survey

Watershed Hydrology Research Program

A watershed can simply be defined as a land area that drains water into a river, lake or ocean. Watershed hydrology deals with the study of water’s movement, distribution and quality in the watershed. In Illinois, all surface water flows toward the Mississippi River after the reversal of Chicago River’s flow direction, making Illinois entirely part of the Mississippi River basin. The Illinois River watershed, which is a tributary of the Mississippi River, drains 45 percent of the State and 90 percent of its population lives in this watershed. Natural and/or anthropogenic activities within a watershed influence its environmental responses, affecting the water availability and water quality in the watershed. Watershed managemet, which allows addressing water resource problems in a hydrologically connected land area, entails monitoring and modeling environmental responses of interest to better understand watershed processes and thereby maintain and/or improve prescribed conditions within a watershed. The environmental responses are greatly influenced by climate, topography, land cover and hydrogeological settings of a watershed. Since its inception, the Illinois State Water Survey has been conducting research studies that provide useful information to address problems involving water availability, nonpoint source pollution and sediment transport.


Contact: Elias Getahun [Email: egetahun@illinois.edu; Tel: +1 217 333 3767]

Illinois State Water Survey

2204 Griffith Dr., MC-674
Champaign, IL 61820-7463
Email us with questions or comments.


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