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Regional regression equations for estimation of natural streamflow statistics in Colorado

October 24, 2009

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Department of Transportation, developed regional regression equations for estimation of various streamflow statistics that are representative of natural streamflow conditions at ungaged sites in Colorado. The equations define the statistical relations between streamflow statistics (response variables) and basin and climatic characteristics (predictor variables). The equations were developed using generalized least-squares and weighted least-squares multilinear regression reliant on logarithmic variable transformation. Streamflow statistics were derived from at least 10 years of streamflow data through about 2007 from selected USGS streamflow-gaging stations in the study area that are representative of natural-flow conditions. Basin and climatic characteristics used for equation development are drainage area, mean watershed elevation, mean watershed slope, percentage of drainage area above 7,500 feet of elevation, mean annual precipitation, and 6-hour, 100-year precipitation. For each of five hydrologic regions in Colorado, peak-streamflow equations that are based on peak-streamflow data from selected stations are presented for the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year instantaneous-peak streamflows. For four of the five hydrologic regions, equations based on daily-mean streamflow data from selected stations are presented for 7-day minimum 2-, 10-, and 50-year streamflows and for 7-day maximum 2-, 10-, and 50-year streamflows. Other equations presented for the same four hydrologic regions include those for estimation of annual- and monthly-mean streamflow and streamflow-duration statistics for exceedances of 10, 25, 50, 75, and 90 percent. All equations are reported along with salient diagnostic statistics, ranges of basin and climatic characteristics on which each equation is based, and commentary of potential bias, which is not otherwise removed by log-transformation of the variables of the equations from interpretation of residual plots. The predictor-variable ranges can be used to assess equation applicability for ungaged sites in Colorado.