Cost effectiveness of the stream-gaging program in Nevada

Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4213




The stream-gaging network in Nevada was evaluated as part of a nationwide effort by the U.S. Geological Survey to define and document the most cost-effective means of furnishing streamflow information. Specifically, the study dealt with 79 streamflow gages and 2 canal-flow gages that were under the direct operation of Nevada personnel as of 1983. Cost-effective allocations of resources, including budget and operational criteria, were studied using statistical procedures known as Kalman-filtering techniques. The possibility of developing streamflow data at ungaged sites was evaluated using flow-routing and statistical regression analyses. Neither of these methods provided sufficiently accurate results to warrant their use in place of stream gaging. The 81 gaging stations were being operated in 1983 with a budget of $465,500. As a result of this study, all existing stations were determined to be necessary components of the program for the foreseeable future. At the 1983 funding level, the average standard error of streamflow records was nearly 28%. This same overall level of accuracy could have been maintained with a budget of approximately $445,000 if the funds were redistributed more equitably among the gages. The maximum budget analyzed, $1,164 ,000 would have resulted in an average standard error of 11%. The study indicates that a major source of error is lost data. If perfectly operating equipment were available, the standard error for the 1983 program and budget could have been reduced to 21%. (Thacker-USGS, WRD)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Cost effectiveness of the stream-gaging program in Nevada
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; U.S. Geological Survey, Books and Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
v, 68 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.