Many individual springs and groups of springs discharge water from volcanic rocks that form the north canyon wall of the Snake River between Milner Dam and King Hill. Previous estimates of annual mean discharge from these springs have been used to understand the hydrology of the eastern part of the Snake River Plain. Four methods that were used in previous studies or developed to estimate annual mean discharge since 1902 were (1) water-budget analysis of the Snake River; (2) correlation of water-budget estimates with discharge from 10 index springs; (3) determination of the combined discharge from individual springs or groups of springs by using annual discharge measurements of 8 springs, gaging-station records of 4 springs and 3 sites on the Malad River, and regression equations developed from 5 of the measured springs; and (4) a single regression equation that correlates gaging-station records of 2 springs with historical water-budget estimates. Comparisons made among the four methods of estimating annual mean spring discharges from 1951 to 1959 and 1963 to 1980 indicated that differences were about equivalent to a measurement error of 2 to 3 percent. The method that best demonstrates the response of annual mean spring discharge to changes in ground-water recharge and discharge is method 3, which combines the measurements and regression estimates of discharge from individual springs.
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Methods to estimate annual mean spring discharge to the Snake River between Milner Dam and King Hill, Idaho