The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a long history of working cooperatively with the South Carolina Department of Transportation to develop methods for estimating the magnitude and frequency of floods for rural and urban streams that have minimal to no regulation or tidal influence. As part of those previous investigations, flood-frequency estimates also have been generated for selected streamgages on regulated streams. This report assesses the effects of impoundments on flood-frequency characteristics by comparing annual exceedance probability (AEP) streamflows from pre- and post-regulated (before and after impoundment) periods at 18 long-term USGS streamgages, which is defined as a streamgage with 30 or more years of record, in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. For an assessment of how differences in such statistics can be influenced by period of record and hydrologic conditions captured in those records, which could be considered as natural variability, AEP streamflows at an additional 18 long-term USGS streamgages that represent unregulated conditions in those three States were computed and compared for the first and last half of those records.
Of the 18 long-term streamgages with pre- and post-regulated periods of record, 17 streamgages had both peak streamflows and daily mean streamflows available. To further assess how impoundments may influence a broader range of streamflow characteristics, The Nature Conservancy’s Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration software was used to compare selected streamflow characteristics generated from daily mean streamflows for pre- and post-regulated periods of record at 16 of those long-term streamgages. For comparison of the natural variability of such streamflow statistics, two periods of record (first half and last half) also were compared at 17 of the 18 long-term streamgages on unregulated streams. The remaining long-term streamgage on an unregulated stream included in this report had only annual peak streamflows and, therefore, was not included in the hydrologic alteration analysis.
In a separate USGS investigation completed in 2023, flood-frequency statistics for the 50-, 20-, 10-, 4-, 2-, 1-, 0.5-, and 0.2-percent AEP streamflows (also known as the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year recurrence interval streamflows, respectively) were computed for 72 streamgages on regulated streams in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Of those 72 streamgages, 29 streamgages were found to be redundant, which is a situation where the drainage basin of one streamgage is contained inside another (nested) and the two basins are of similar size. For the remaining 43 streamgages, 39 had basins where 75 percent or more of the drainage area was above the Fall Line. Those 39 streamgages were included in this investigation to develop regional regression equations that can be used to estimate the flood-frequency statistics at ungaged locations on regulated streams in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina in which 75 percent or more of the drainage basin is located above the Fall Line. The flood-frequency regression equations are functions of drainage area and maximum storage index computed for upstream reservoirs.
|Title||Effects of impoundments on selected flood-frequency and daily mean streamflow characteristics in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina|
|Authors||Toby D. Feaster, Jonathan W. Musser|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||South Atlantic Water Science Center|