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This page will be updated frequently with information about the status of dataRetrieval services.


As of March 11, 2024, NWIS services are “frozen”: any public data retrieval will not include any new data.

NWIS qw services

Discrete water quality samples data are undergoing modernization, and NWIS services pulling that discrete water quality data (‘qw’) are no longer being updated as of March 11, 2024. A full decommission is expected approximately 6 months later. Learn more about the upcoming change and where to find the new samples data in our blog.

If you have additional questions about the NWIS qw data service, email .


New USGS data: temporarily not accessible on the Water Quality Portal (WQP). Data are still being collected, but are not publicly available. This limited availability is expected to last a few weeks.

New USGS data will be accessible again upon release of the new “Data Profiles” (how the data is formatted by the WQP), which will be in the “WQX version 3.0 format” (WQX = Water Quality Exchange). These profiles should be available starting April 2024. These profiles are not yet available to test. When they are, we will update this page with recommendations.

The current WQP data profiles that are considered “WQX version 2.0 profiles”. These will remain available after the rollout of version 3.0. Eventually they will be retired, but there is not yet an estimated time line.

What to expect: dataRetrieval specific


Functioning normally but does not include any new data collected after March 11, 2024. This function will be going away soon, so consider switching to readWQPqw or readWQPdata. When the NWIS qw service is eventually shut down - the readNWISqw will be removed from dataRetrieval.

Fall 2024

When the NWIS services are decommissioned (possible September 2024): the readNWISqw function will be removed from dataRetrieval.

See vignette("qwdata_changes", package = "dataRetrieval") for information on how to convert your workflows from readNWISqw to readWQPqw.


NWIS services are “frozen”: the returned data availability will also be frozen ONLY for “qw” data_type_cd results. All other data types should not be affected.

Fall 2024

When the NWIS services are decommissioned (possible September 2024): there will no longer be any “qw” information provided in the output of whatNWISdata. Discrete water-quality availability will be available via WQP services. More information will be provided as we learn more.

Here’s an example of what will change:

what_NWIS <- whatNWISdata(siteNumber = "05114000")
[1] 407
nrow(what_NWIS[what_NWIS$data_type_cd == "qw",])
[1] 381

So for site “05114000”, there are 381 NWIS qw parameters that have been measured. Starting mid-March 2024, the data availability for those 381 parameters will be frozen…even if new data is collected. Eventually those 381 rows of data will not be returned, only 26 rows of data will be returned (407-381).

Once the full transition is completed, we will update with additional guidance. Water Quality Portal data availability can be obtained:

what_WQP_full <- readWQPsummary(siteid = "USGS-05114000")

what_WQP <- what_WQP_full |> 
  group_by(siteid = MonitoringLocationIdentifier, CharacteristicName) |> 
  summarise(count = sum(ResultCount, na.rm = TRUE),
            start_year = min(YearSummarized, na.rm = TRUE),
            end_year = max(YearSummarized, na.rm = TRUE))

[1] 203

You’ll notice that there are fewer rows in the what_WQP data frame (203) than “qw” data in the what_NWIS (381). This is because there are sometimes more than one parameter code that are associated with a “CharacteristicName”.

readWQPqw and readWQPdata

Current Status:

NWIS services are “frozen”: no new USGS will be available via any Water Quality Portal query.

April 2024

When WQP gets new “data profiles” (April 2024): New data profiles will include ALL USGS data (legacy and new). Shortly after these profiles are released, we plan to update dataRetrieval so that these new profiles are the default.

Known Dependencies


The readNWISSample function will be deprecated or updated. Plan to switch to readWQPSample.


The data_available function will need to be updated.

If you know of additional R package dependencies that will be affected by these changes, please email .