The Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator (MA SYE)

Release Date:


The Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator is a decision-support tool that provides screening-level estimates of the sustainable yield of a basin, defined as the difference between the unregulated streamflow and a user-specified quantity of water that must remain in the stream to support such functions as recreational activities or aquatic habitat. To this end, the tool provides estimates of unregulated, mean daily streamflow at a user-selected stream location - gaged or ungaged - in Massachusetts for a 44-year period of record spanning October 1, 1960, through September 30, 2004. The MA SYE tool provides an estimate of streamflow adjusted for current (2000-04) water withdrawals and discharges using a spatially referenced database of permitted groundwater and surface-water withdrawal and discharge volumes. The methods implemented in and the limitations of the MA SYE tool are detailed in Archfield and others (2010).

Documentation and limitations of methods

Archfield, S.A., Vogel, R.M., Steeves, P.A., Brandt, S.L., Weiskel, P.K., and Garabedian, S.P., 2010, The Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator: A decision-support tool to assess water availability at ungaged stream locations in Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5227, 41 p. plus CD-ROM.

Report On-Line


Software (latest version posted June 2011)

The MA SYE tool links documents from three software programs: (1) ESRI ArcMap, (2) Microsoft Excel and (3) Microsoft Access. The user manual describes how each software program interfaces in the MA SYE tool. Basin delineation is carried out through a desktop version of the StreamStats tool. Basin boundaries delineated by the MA SYE will be identical to those delineated using the web-based Massachusetts StreamStats program.

System Requirements

There are several software requirements for the MA SYE tool:

  • Microsoft Office 2003 or later version
  • ESRI ArcGIS version 9.2 or later version with the Spatial Analyst extension and Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3
  • ESRI ArcHydro version 10.5 available for free download.

File downloads

Users must download the appropriate file based on the version of ArcMap installed on the user's computer. The file is very large and takes considerable time to download. To avoid downloading the file, click here to request a DVD of the file. Be sure to include your mailing address in the email. A description of the files can be found in the installation instructions.

Please check for known issues and resolutions before getting started.

PLEASE NOTE: Users will also need to obtain the database of all permitted water use from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). The USGS cannot distribute this database and the MA SYE tool will not work without this file. Users must email MassDEP to request this file. Click here to request the water-use database. Be sure to include your full contact information in this email. The installation instructions explain what to do with this file once it is obtained.

Folders and files to download:

The files in the table below are needed to delineate watersheds and summarize basin characteristics. These files must be downloaded to a shared or local drive, unzipped and stored in one folder. The installation instructions and user manual refer to this folder name as 'basins' but you can choose any name for this folder. (1.71MB) (104MB) (618MB) (32.7MB) (69.2MB) (104MB) (68.5MB) (12.5MB) (74.6MB) (37.6MB) (98.0MB) (3.68MB) (107MB) (71.7MB) (50.1MB) (91.9MB) (155MB) (42.5MB) (6.83MB) (46.7MB) (55.7MB) (194MB) (75.2MB)


The zipped folders below contain the other files needed to use the MA SYE with the exception of the permitted water-use database, as noted above. Select the appropriate Microsoft Office version. Once the file is unzipped, the installation instructions explain where to place the files and folders.

Microsoft Office 2003 version: (39.8MB)

Microsoft Office 2007/2010 version: (39.2MB)

Installation Instructions

Installation instructions for the MA SYE can be downloaded by clicking here (last updated on 02/07/11).

User Manual

The user manual can be downloaded by clicking here.

Archfield, S. A. and Granato, G. E., 2010, User Manual for the Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator (MA SYE) tool, Last updated September, 2010.

Software History

MA SYE version 1.6 - Released June 2011 to correct an issue with the septic-return calculations. Downloading is only required to upgade. 
MA SYE version 1.6 - Released September 2010. Please update to the current version of the software.
MA SYE version 1.5 - Initial release June 2010. Please update to the current version of the software.

Support and User Community

Limited support is provided for correcting bugs and clarification of how the code is intended to work. For a current list of known issues and resolutions click here.

To receive notifications of software updates and provide feedback, request to join the MA SYE user list here.


User Rights

This software and related material (data and documentation) are made available by the USGS to be used in the public interest and the advancement of science. You may, without any fee or cost, use, copy, modify, or distribute this software, and any derivative works thereof, and its supporting documentation, subject to the USGS Software User Rights Notice

Product Disclaimer

Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for decriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government