Skip to main content

Streamflow, water quality, and constituent loads and yields, Scituate Reservoir Drainage Area, Rhode Island, water year 2015

May 21, 2018

Streamflow and concentrations of sodium and chloride estimated from records of specific conductance were used to calculate loads of sodium and chloride during water year (WY) 2015 (October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2015) for tributaries to the Scituate Reservoir, Rhode Island. Streamflow and water-quality data used in the study were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Providence Water Supply Board. Streamflow was measured or estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey following standard methods at 23 streamgages; 14 of these streamgages are equipped with instrumentation capable of continuously monitoring water level, specific conductance, and water temperature. Water-quality samples were collected at 36 sampling stations by the Providence Water Supply Board and at 14 continuous-record streamgages by the U.S. Geological Survey during WY 2015 as part of a long-term sampling program; all stations are in the Scituate Reservoir drainage area. Water-quality data collected by the Providence Water Supply Board are summarized by using values of central tendency and are used, in combination with measured (or estimated) streamflows, to calculate loads and yields (loads per unit area) of selected water-quality constituents for WY 2015.

The largest tributary to the reservoir (the Ponaganset River, which was monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey) contributed a mean streamflow of 25 cubic feet per second to the reservoir during WY 2015. For the same time period, annual mean streamflows measured (or estimated) for the other monitoring stations in this study ranged from about 0.38 to about 14 cubic feet per second. Together, tributaries (equipped with instrumentation capable of continuously monitoring specific conductance) transported about 1,500,000 kilograms of sodium and 2,400,000 kilograms of chloride to the Scituate Reservoir during WY 2015; sodium and chloride yields for the tributaries ranged from 8,000 to 54,000 kilograms per square mile and from 12,000 to 91,000 kilograms per square mile, respectively.

At the stations where water-quality samples were collected by the Providence Water Supply Board, the medians of the median concentrations were the following: for chloride, 29.5 milligrams per liter; for nitrite, 0.002 milligrams per liter as nitrogen; for nitrate, 0.05 milligrams per liter as nitrogen; for orthophosphate, 0.08 milligrams per liter as phosphate; and for total coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli, 440 and 20 colony forming units per 100 milliliters, respectively. The medians of the median daily loads (and yields) of chloride, nitrite, nitrate, orthophosphate, and total coliform and Escherichia coli bacteria were 170 kilograms per day (79 kilograms per day per square mile), 14 grams per day (5.2 grams per day per square mile), 670 grams per day (190 grams per day per square mile), 640 grams per day (210 grams per day per square mile), 18,000 million colony forming units per day (7,600 million colony forming units per day per square mile), and 1,200 million colony forming units per day (810 million colony forming units per day per square mile), respectively.

Related Content