Method for estimating low-flow characteristics of ungaged streams in Indiana

Open-File Report 86-323




Equations for estimating the 7-day, 2-yr and 7-day, 10-yr low flows at sites on ungaged streams are presented. Regression analysis was used to develop equations relating basin characteristics and low flow characteristics at 82 gaging stations. Significant basin characteristics in the equations are contributing drainage area and flow duration ratio, which is the 20% flow duration divided by the 90% flow duration. Flow duration ratio has been regionalized for Indiana on a plate. Ratios for use in the equations are obtained from this plate. Drainage areas are determined from maps or are obtained from reports. The predictive capability of the method was determined by tests of the equations and of the flow duration ratios on the plate. The accuracy of the equations alone was tested by estimating the low flow characteristics at 82 gaging stations where flow duration ratio is already known. In this case, the standard errors of estimate for 7-day, 2-yr and 7-day, 10-yr low flows are 19% and 28%. When flow duration ratios for the 82 gaging stations are obtained from the map, the standard errors are 46% and 61%. However, when stations with drainage areas < 10 sq mi are excluded from the test, the standard errors reduce to 38% and 49%. Standard errors increase when stations with small basins are included, probably because some of the flow duration ratios obtained for these small basins are incorrect. Local geology and its effect on the ratio are not adequately reflected on the plate, which shows the regional variation in flow duration ratio. In all the tests, no bias is apparent areally, with increasing drainage area or with increasing ratio. Guidelines and limitations should be considered when using the method. The method can be applied only at sites in the northern and the central physiographic zones of the state. Low flow characteristics cannot be estimated for regulated streams unless the amount of regulation is known so that the estimated low flow characteristic can be adjusted. The method is most accurate for sites with drainage areas ranging from 10 to 1,000 sq mi and for predictions of 7-day, 10-yr low flows ranging from 0.5 to 340 cu ft/sec. (Author 's abstract)

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Method for estimating low-flow characteristics of ungaged streams in Indiana
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey,
iv, 32 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.