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Method for estimating low-flow characteristics of ungaged streams in Indiana

January 1, 1986

Equations for estimating the 7-day, 2-year and 7-day, 10-year low flows at sites on ungaged streams are presented. Regression analysis was used to develop equations relating basin characteristics and low-flow characteristics at 82 gaging stations. Significant basin characteristics in the equations are contributing drainage area and flow-duration ratio, which is the 20-percent flow duration divided by the 90-percent flow duration. Flow-duration ratio has been regionalized for Indiana on a plate in this report. Ratios for use in the equations are obtained from this plate. Drainage areas are determined from maps or are obtained from reports.

The predictive capability of the method was determined by tests of the equations and of the flow-duration ratios on the plate. The accuracy of the equations alone was tested by estimating the low-flow characteristics at 82 gaging stations where flow-duration ratio is already known. In this case, the standard errors of estimate for 7-day, 2-year and 7-day, 10-year low flows are 19 and 28 percent. When flow-duration ratios for the 82 gaging stations are obtained from the map, the standard errors are 46 and 61 percent. However, when stations with drainage areas less than 10 square miles are excluded from the test, the standard errors reduce to 38 and 49 percent. Standard errors increase when stations with small basins are included, probably because some of the flow-duration ratios obtained for these small basins are incorrect. Local geology and its effect on the ratio are not adequately reflected on the plate, which shows the regional variation in flow-duration ratio. In all the tests, no bias is apparent areally, with increasing drainage area or with increasing ratio.

Guidelines and limitations should be considered when using the method. The method can he applied only at sites in the northern and the central physiographic zones of the State. Low-flow characteristics cannot be estimated for regulated streams unless the amount of regulation is known so that the estimated low-flow characteristic can be adjusted. The method is most accurate for sites with drainage areas ranging from 10 to 1,000 square miles and for predictions of 7-day, 10-year low flows ranging from 0.5 to 340 cubic feet per second.

Publication Year 1986
Title Method for estimating low-flow characteristics of ungaged streams in Indiana
DOI 10.3133/ofr86323
Authors Leslie D. Arihood, Dale R. Glatfelter
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 86-323
Index ID ofr86323
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Indiana Water Science Center