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Selected low-flow frequency statistics for continuous-record streamgages in Georgia, 2013

April 13, 2016

This report presents the annual and monthly minimum 1- and 7-day average streamflows with the 10-year recurrence interval (1Q10 and 7Q10) for 197 continuous-record streamgages in Georgia. Streamgages used in the study included active and discontinued stations having a minimum of 10 complete climatic years of record as of September 30, 2013. The 1Q10 and 7Q10 flow statistics were computed for 85 streamgages on unregulated streams with minimal diversions upstream, 43 streamgages on regulated streams, and 69 streamgages known, or considered, to be affected by varying degrees of diversions upstream. Descriptive information for each of these streamgages, including the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) station number, station name, latitude, longitude, county, drainage area, and period of record analyzed also is presented.

Kendall’s tau nonparametric test was used to determine the statistical significance of trends in annual and monthly minimum 1-day and 7-day average flows for the 197 streamgages. Significant negative trends in the minimum annual 1-day and 7-day average streamflow were indicated for 77 of the 197 streamgages. Many of these significant negative trends are due to the period of record ending during one of the recent droughts in Georgia, particularly those streamgages with record through the 2013 water year. Long-term unregulated streamgages with 70 or more years of record indicate significant negative trends in the annual minimum 7-day average flow for central and southern Georgia. Watersheds for some of these streamgages have experienced minimal human impact, thus indicating that the significant negative trends observed in flows at the long-term streamgages may be influenced by changing climatological conditions. A Kendall-tau trend analysis of the annual air temperature and precipitation totals for Georgia indicated no significant trends. A comprehensive analysis of causes of the trends in annual and monthly minimum 1-day and 7-day average flows in central and southern Georgia is outside the scope of this study. Further study is needed to determine some of the causes, including both climatological and human impacts, of the significant negative trends in annual minimum 1-day and 7-day average flows in central and southern Georgia.

To assess the changes in the annual 1Q10 and 7Q10 statistics over time for long-term continuous streamgages with significant trends in record, the annual 1Q10 and 7Q10 statistics were computed on a decadal accumulated basis for 39 streamgages having 40 or more years of record that indicated a significant trend. Records from most of the streamgages showed a decline in 7Q10 statistics for the decades of 1980–89, 1990–99, and 2000–09 because of the recent droughts in Georgia. Twenty four of the 39 streamgages had complete records from 1980 to 2010, and records from 23 of these gages exhibited a decline in the 7Q10 statistics during this period, ranging from –6.3 to –76.2 percent with a mean of –27.3 percent. No attempts were made during this study to adjust streamflow records or statistical analyses on the basis of trends.

The monthly and annual 1Q10 and 7Q10 flow statistics for the entire period of record analyzed in the study are incorporated into the USGS StreamStatsDB, which is a database accessible to users through the recently released USGS StreamStats application for Georgia. StreamStats is a Web-based geographic information system that provides users with access to an assortment of analytical tools that are useful for water-resources planning and management, and for engineering design applications, such as the design of bridges. StreamStats allows users to easily obtain streamflow statistics, basin characteristics, and other information for user-selected streamgages.