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Natural water loss in selected drainage basins

January 1, 1940

Determinations of areal rainfall, run-off, and water loss, comprising largely evaporation from land surfaces and transpiration by vegetation, are essential in indicating the hydrologic characteristics of river basins.

This report is primarily a statistical study that presents the results of computations of annual water loss, or annual rainfall minus annual run-off, for river basins in the humid or semiarid regions east of the Rocky Mountains. The basic period for which the computations are made is the water year or year ending September 30.

As it is impractical to present in this report all the basic data used in arriving at the results, only sample computations are given. The various steps in the computations and the probable accuracy of the results are discussed. The drainage areas for which data are presented are those above river-measuring stations that have records for 3 years or more. For each area there are determinations of annual rainfall, annual run-off, and annual water loss for each year of record .as well as the means for the period of record. Results are given for about 200 drainage areas with an aggregate period of record of more than 2,000 years. As an illustration of the magnitude involved, the annual water loss from the eastern streams draining directly into the Atlantic Ocean varies more or less closely with latitude from about 20 inches as an average in northern New England to about 30 inches in Georgia.

As the annual water loss from a basin is affected by the temperature, a supplemental study was made of the relation between water loss and temperature. For 28 drainage areas selected in various parts 8f eastern and central United States, average temperatures were computed for each year of the period shown in table 1. The results indicate a relation between average annual water loss and average annual temperature.

Publication Year 1940
Title Natural water loss in selected drainage basins
DOI 10.3133/wsp846
Authors Gordon R. Williams
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water Supply Paper
Series Number 846
Index ID wsp846
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse