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Low-flow characteristics and profiles for selected streams in the Roanoke River basin, North Carolina

January 1, 1996

An understanding of the magnitude and frequency of low-flow discharges is an important part of protecting surface-water resources and planning for municipal and industrial economic expansion. Low-flow characteristics are summarized for 22 continuous-record gaging stations in North Carolina (19 sites) and Virginia (3 sites) and 60 partial-record gaging stations in the North Carolina Roanoke River Basin. Records of discharge collected through the 1994 water year are used. Flow characteristics included in the summary are (1) average annual unit flow, (2) 7Q10 low-flow discharge, the minimum average discharge for a 7 consecutive-day period occurring, on average, once in 10 years; (3) 30Q2 low-flow discharge; (4) W7Q10 low-flow discharge, similar to 7Q10 discharge except that flow during November through March only is considered; and (5) 7Q2 low-flow discharge. The potential for sustaining base flows is moderate to high in the western part of the basin as well as in the eastern and western fringes of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain physiographic provinces, respectively. Areas of low potential for sustaining base flow exist in the central part of the basin (between eastern Caswell County and western Warren County), where soils have low infiltration rates, and in lower regions of the Coastal Plain, where small streams tend to have zero flow during prolonged drought.

Drainage area and low-flow discharge profiles are presented for 10 streams in the Roanoke River Basin in North Carolina and reflect a wide range in basin size, characteristics, and streamflow conditions. The selected streams are Town Fork Creek, Hogans Creek, Mayo River, Buffalo Creek, Smith River, Country Line Creek, Dan River, Marlowe Creek, Hyco River, and Roanoke River. The drainage-area profiles show the increases in drainage areas as streams travel their course in the basin. At the mouths of streams profiled, the drainage areas range from 22 miles to about 9,700 miles. Low-flow discharges for each stream include 7Q10, 30Q2, W7Q10, and 7Q2 discharges in a continuous profile with contributions from major tributaries included.

Publication Year 1996
Title Low-flow characteristics and profiles for selected streams in the Roanoke River basin, North Carolina
DOI 10.3133/wri964154
Authors J. Curtis Weaver
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 96-4154
Index ID wri964154
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization South Atlantic Water Science Center