The water balance at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site in northwestern Illinois was studied from July 1982 through June 1984. Continuous data collection allowed estimates to be made for each component of the water-balance equation independent of other components. The average annual precipitation was 948 millimeters. Average annual evapotranspiration was estimated at 637 millimeters, runoff was 160 millimeters, change in water storage in a waste-trench cover was 24 millimeters, and deep percolation was 208 millimeters. The magnitude of the difference between precipitation and all other components (81 millimeters per year) indicates that, in a similar environment, the water-budget method would be useful in estimating evapotranspiration, but questionable for estimation of other components. Precipitation depth and temporal distribution had a very strong effect on all other components of the water-balance equation. Due to the variability of precipitation from year to year, it appears that two years of data are inadequate for characterization of the long-term average water balance at the site.
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Water balance at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site