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Factors Affecting Spatial and Temporal Variations of Annual Summer Median Water Yields in Southwestern Michigan

May 3, 2019

Median summer water yields and resultant flows are used in Michigan to regulate large water withdrawals to help prevent negative effects on characteristic fish populations. Large water withdrawals commonly are associated with irrigation in rural areas. In an earlier statewide report, an index-flow statistic for the period of record, defined as the median flow during the summer month of lowest flow, was used to characterize median summer flows and associated water yields. In this report, the annual series of median summer water yields for the period July 1 through September 30 within the period of record is used to characterize median summer water yields. For 27 streamgages included in both reports, the average index water yield was at the 37th percentile of the distribution of median summer water yields. In contrast to an index statistic, an annual time series provides a basis for detecting trends in median summer water yields and for determining basin, climatic, and irrigation factors affecting spatial and temporal variations in summer water yields. Daily flow data from 40 selected U.S. Geological Survey streamgages in southwestern Michigan were used in this analysis. Two mixed models were identified to estimate median summer water yields based on fixed basin characteristics and temporally varying climatic factors for 1945-2015. No irrigation data were available prior to 1970, so no irrigation variables were included in the mixed models for 1945-2015. Then, two mixed models were developed for 1970-2015, a period in which a partial annual series of county-level irrigation data also were available. One of the 1970-2015 mixed models provides a basis for estimating median summer water yields at sites in southwestern Michigan using an estimated trend component, and selected basin, climatic, and irrigation factors. Re-estimation of model parameters in this mixed model with more spatially precise information on irrigation withdrawals may improve model accuracy.

Publication Year 2019
Title Factors Affecting Spatial and Temporal Variations of Annual Summer Median Water Yields in Southwestern Michigan
DOI 10.5066/P9WNIF7M
Authors David J Holtschlag
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Upper Midwest Water Science Center