thumbnail

Base-flow characteristics of streams in the Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont physiographic provinces of Virginia

Open-File Report 95-298

By:
, , and

Links

Abstract

Growth within the Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont Physiographic Provinces of Virginia has focussed concern about allocation of surface-water flow and increased demands on the ground-water resources. The purpose of this report is to (1) describe the base-flow characteristics of streams, (2) identify regional differences in these flow characteristics, and (3) describe, if possible, the potential surface-water and ground-water yields of basins on the basis of the base-flow character- istics. Base-flow characteristics are presented for streams in the Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont Physiographic Provinces of Virginia. The provinces are separated into five regions: (1) Valley and Ridge, (2) Blue Ridge, (3) Piedmont/Blue Ridge transition, (4) Piedmont northern, and (5) Piedmont southern. Different flow statistics, which represent streamflows predominantly comprised of base flow, were determined for 217 continuous-record streamflow-gaging stations from historical mean daily discharge and for 192 partial-record streamflow-gaging stations by means of correlation of discharge measurements. Variability of base flow is represented by a duration ratio developed during this investigation. Effective recharge rates were also calculated. Median values for the different flow statistics range from 0.05 cubic foot per second per square mile for the 90-percent discharge on the streamflow-duration curve to 0.61 cubic foot per second per square mile for mean base flow. An excellent estimator of mean base flow for the Piedmont/Blue Ridge transition region and Piedmont southern region is the 50-percent discharge on the streamflow-duration curve, but tends to under- estimate mean base flow for the remaining regions. The base-flow variability index ranges from 0.07 to 2.27, with a median value of 0.55. Effective recharge rates range from 0.07 to 33.07 inches per year, with a median value of 8.32 inches per year. Differences in the base-flow characteristics exist between regions. The median discharges for the Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont/Blue Ridge transition regions are higher than those for the Piedmont regions. Results from statistical analysis indicate that the regions can be ranked in terms of base-flow characteristics from highest to lowest as follows: (1) Piedmont/Blue Ridge transition, (2) Valley and Ridge and Blue Ridge, (3) Piedmont southern, and (4) Piedmont northern. The flow statistics are consistently higher and the values for base-flow variability are lower for basins within the Piedmont/Blue Ridge transition region relative to those from the other regions, whereas the basins within the Piedmont northern region show the opposite pattern. The group rankings of the base-flow characteristics were used to designate the potential surface-water yield for the regions. In addition, an approach developed for this investigation assigns a rank for potential surface- water yield to a basin according to the quartiles in which the values for the base-flow character- istics are located. Both procedures indicate that the Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont/Blue Ridge transition regions have moderate-to-high potential surface-water yield and the Piedmont regions have low-to-moderate potential surface- water yield. In order to indicate potential ground-water yield from base-flow characteristics, aquifer properties for 51 streamflow-gaging stations with continuous record of streamflow data were determined by methods that use streamflow records and basin characteristics. Areal diffusivity ranges from 17,100 to 88,400 feet squared per day, with a median value of 38,400 feet squared per day. Areal transmissivity ranges from 63 to 830 feet squared per day, with a median value of 270 feet squared per day. Storage coefficients, which were estimated by dividing areal transmissivity by areal diffusivity, range from approximately 0.001 to 0.019 (dimensionless), with a median value of 0.007. The median value for areal diffus

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Base-flow characteristics of streams in the Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont physiographic provinces of Virginia
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
95-298
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1995
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section, [distributor],
Description:
iv, 52 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.