Application of the precipitation-runoff model in the Warrior coal field, Alabama

Water Supply Paper 2306




A deterministic precipitation-runoff model, the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System, was applied in two small basins located in the Warrior coal field, Alabama. Each basin has distinct geologic, hydrologic, and land-use characteristics. Bear Creek basin (15.03 square miles) is undisturbed, is underlain almost entirely by consolidated coal-bearing rocks of Pennsylvanian age (Pottsville Formation), and is drained by an intermittent stream. Turkey Creek basin (6.08 square miles) contains a surface coal mine and is underlain by both the Pottsville Formation and unconsolidated clay, sand, and gravel deposits of Cretaceous age (Coker Formation). Aquifers in the Coker Formation sustain flow through extended rainless periods. Preliminary daily and storm calibrations were developed for each basin. Initial parameter and variable values were determined according to techniques recommended in the user's manual for the modeling system and through field reconnaissance. Parameters with meaningful sensitivity were identified and adjusted to match hydrograph shapes and to compute realistic water year budgets. When the developed calibrations were applied to data exclusive of the calibration period as a verification exercise, results were comparable to those for the calibration period. The model calibrations included preliminary parameter values for the various categories of geology and land use in each basin. The parameter values for areas underlain by the Pottsville Formation in the Bear Creek basin were transferred directly to similar areas in the Turkey Creek basin, and these parameter values were held constant throughout the model calibration. Parameter values for all geologic and land-use categories addressed in the two calibrations can probably be used in ungaged basins where similar conditions exist. The parameter transfer worked well, as a good calibration was obtained for Turkey Creek basin.

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Application of the precipitation-runoff model in the Warrior coal field, Alabama
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Water Supply Paper
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U.S. G.P.O.,
v, 42 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.