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Simulations of hydrologic response in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, Southeastern United States

December 29, 2017

A suite of hydrologic models has been developed for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin (ACFB) as part of the National Water Census, a U.S. Geological Survey research program that focuses on developing new water accounting tools and assessing water availability and use at the regional and national scales. Seven hydrologic models were developed using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS), a deterministic, distributed-parameter, process-based system that simulates the effects of precipitation, temperature, land cover, and water use on basin hydrology. A coarse-resolution PRMS model was developed for the entire ACFB, and six fine-resolution PRMS models were developed for six subbasins of the ACFB. The coarse-resolution model was loosely coupled with a groundwater model to better assess the effects of water use on streamflow in the lower ACFB, a complex geologic setting with karst features. The PRMS coarse-resolution model was used to provide inputs of recharge to the groundwater model, which in turn provide simulations of groundwater flow that were aggregated with PRMS-based simulations of surface runoff and shallow-subsurface flow. Simulations without the effects of water use were developed for each model for at least the calendar years 1982–2012 with longer periods for the Potato Creek subbasin (1942–2012) and the Spring Creek subbasin (1952–2012). Water-use-affected flows were simulated for 2008–12. Water budget simulations showed heterogeneous distributions of precipitation, actual evapotranspiration, recharge, runoff, and storage change across the ACFB. Streamflow volume differences between no-water-use and water-use simulations were largest along the main stem of the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee River Basins, with streamflow percentage differences largest in the upper Chattahoochee and Flint River Basins and Spring Creek in the lower Flint River Basin. Water-use information at a shorter time step and a fully coupled simulation in the lower ACFB may further improve water availability estimates and hydrologic simulations in the basin.

Publication Year 2017
Title Simulations of hydrologic response in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, Southeastern United States
DOI 10.3133/sir20175133
Authors Jacob H. LaFontaine, L. Elliott Jones, Jaime A. Painter
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2017-5133
Index ID sir20175133
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization South Atlantic Water Science Center