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Identification of changes in streamflow characteristics

January 1, 2001

A set of procedures for identifying changes in selected streamflow characteristics at sites having long-term continuous streamflow records is illustrated by using streamflow data from the Waccamaw River at Freeland, North Carolina for the 55-year period of 1940-1994. Data were evaluated and compared to streamflows in the adjacent Lumber River Basin to determine if changes in streamflow characteristics in the Waccamaw River were localized and possibly the result of some human activity, or consistent with regional variations. Following 1963, droughts in the Waccamaw Basin seem to have been less severe than in the Lumber Basin, and the annual one-, seven-, and 30-day low flows exhibited a slightly increasing trend in the Waccamaw River. Mean daily flows in the Waccamaw River at the 90 percent exceedance level (low flows) during 1985-194, a relatively dry period, were very nearly equal to flows at the same exceedance level for 1970-1979, which represents the 10-year period between 1940 and 1994 with the highest flows. Prior to the 1980s, flows per unit drainage area in the Waccamaw Basin were generally less than those in the Lumber Basin, but after 1980, the opposite was true. The ratio of base flow to runoff in the Waccamaw River may have changed relative to that in the Lumber River in the late 1970s. There was greater variability in Waccamaw River streamflow than in Lumber River flow, and flow variability in the Waccamaw River may have increased slightly during 1985-1994.

Publication Year 2001
Title Identification of changes in streamflow characteristics
DOI 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2001.tb05477.x
Authors J. D. Bales, B.F. Pope
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Index ID 70024013
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse