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Continuous slope-area discharge records in Maricopa County, Arizona, 2004–2012

December 29, 2015

Continuous slope-area (CSA) streamgages have been developed and implemented by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to enable the recording of discharge hydrographs in areas where direct discharge measurements cannot be made. The flashy nature of streamflow in parts of the arid Southwest and remote location of many sites make discharge measurements difficult or impossible to obtain. Consequently, available discharge measurements may be insufficient to develop accurate rating curves, which relate discharge to continuously recorded stage measured at standard streamgages. Nine CSA streamgages have been installed in Maricopa County, Arizona, since 2004 in cooperation with the Flood Control District of Maricopa County. This report presents the data and analysis of computed discharges from those streamgages, along with descriptions of the streamgage site and stream properties.

Analyses of sources of errors and the impact stage data errors have on calculated discharge time series are considered, along with issues in data reduction. Steeper, longer stream reaches are generally less sensitive to measurement error. Other issues considered are pressure transducer drawdown, capture of flood peaks with discrete stage data, selection of stage record for development of rating curves, and minimum stages for the calculation of discharge.