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Streamflow, base flow, and ground-water recharge in the Housatonic River basin, western Massachusetts and parts of eastern New York and northwestern Connecticut

Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4232

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Abstract

Streamflows for selected flow durations from 1 to 99 percent and the August median streamflows were estimated for 11 long-term streamflow-gaging stations in and near the study area. Estimates of streamflow and associated standard errors were determined for selected flow durations from 50 to 99 percent and the August median streamflows for 21 low-flow partial-record stations and for selected flow durations from 1 to 99 percent and the August median streamflows for two partial-record stations and seven short-term discontinued streamflow-gaging stations. Median streamflows per square mile for the 10-, 50-, and 90-percent flow durations and the August median streamflows were 3.90, 1.01, 0.185, and 0.248 cubic feet per second per square mile. Streamflows per square mile at selected flow-duration discharges between 1 and 99 percent at the 41 stations were related to basin characteristics to explain differences in streamflow characteristics. Basin characteristics included basin elevations, extent of stratified-drift deposits, land use, aspect, and underlying bedrock geology types. Most streamflow differences were positively correlated to basin elevation differences, most likely because precipitation increases with elevation, and to stratified-drift deposits, which allow more precipitation to recharge the ground water and to discharge later than do till and bedrock deposits.Mean base flow was computed from continuous records of daily mean discharge at 11 long-term streamflow-gaging stations in and near the study area. Mean annual base flow ranged from 13.4 to 24.5 inches per year. Minimum annual base flow ranged from 45 to 72 percent of mean annual rates at the 11 long-term stations, and the ratio of base flow to streamflow (base-flow index) ranged from 0.55 to 0.80. Base-flow durations between 1 and 99 percent were calculated from streamflow records at the 11 long-term streamflow-gaging stations. Base flow accounted for 45.5 to 85.0 percent of total annual streamflow at the 1- and 99-percent flow durations. Ground-water-recharge rates were computed from continuous records of daily mean discharge at 11 long-term streamflow-gaging stations in and near the study area. Mean annual ground-water-recharge rates ranged from 17.5 to 22.4 inches per year at 10 of the 11 long-term stations. Mean annual ground-water-recharge rates ranged from 2 to 7 inches per year higher than base flow. Minimum annual ground-water-recharge rates ranged from 48 to 72 percent of mean annual ground-water-recharge rates. Mean annual potential ground-water recharge was estimated from monthly climatological data collected at six climatological stations in and near the study area. Mean potential ground-water recharge ranged from about 17.9 to 28.9 inches per year, with a median value of 22.6 inches per year. This median value compares well to that calculated by use of streamflow records at the 11 streamflow-gaging stations (20.0 inches per year).Streamflows per square mile for the 10-, 50-, and 90-percent flow durations at stations in and near the study area were similar to those computed for other unregulated long-term continuous streamflow-gaging stations in central and eastern Massachusetts. Base-flow and ground-water-recharge rates in the study area compared closely to results from other studies in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which were based on the same computational methods.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Streamflow, base flow, and ground-water recharge in the Housatonic River basin, western Massachusetts and parts of eastern New York and northwestern Connecticut
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
98-4232
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1999
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Information Services [distributor],
Description:
v, 68 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.