Base flow recession information is helpful for regional estimation of low-flow characteristics. However, analyses that exploit such information generally require a continuous record of streamflow at the estimation site to characterize base flow recession. Here we propose a simple method for characterizing base flow recession at low-flow partial record stream gauges (i.e., sites with very few streamflow measurements under low-streamflow conditions), and we use that characterization as the basis for a practical new approach to low-flow regression. In a case study the introduction of a base flow recession time constant, estimated from a single pair of strategically timed streamflow measurements, approximately halves the root-mean-square estimation error relative to that of a conventional drainage area regression. Additional streamflow measurements can be used to reduce the error further.
Additional publication details
Relating low-flow characteristics to the base flow recession time constant at partial record stream gauges