Temporal and spatial variations in river specific conductivity: Implications for understanding sources of river water and hydrograph separations

Journal of Hydrology
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Abstract

Specific conductivity (SC) is commonly used to estimate the proportion of baseflow (i.e., waters from within catchments such as groundwater, interflow, or bank return flows) contributing to rivers. Reach-scale SC comparisons are also useful for identifying where multiple water stores contribute to baseflow. Daily SC values of adjacent gauges in Australian (the Barwon, Glenelg, and Campaspe Rivers) and North American (the Upper Colorado River) catchments are commonly not well correlated (R2 = 0.32 to 0.82). Smoothed inter-gauge SC values averaged over 7 to 45 days are better correlated and define a series of hysteresis loops. The variable SC patterns between adjacent gauges probably reflect varying proportions of groundwater, bank return waters, interflow, and soil water contributing to baseflow. In some rivers using SC values to compare baseflow along river reaches on sub-annual timescales may be not be feasible.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Temporal and spatial variations in river specific conductivity: Implications for understanding sources of river water and hydrograph separations
Series title Journal of Hydrology
DOI 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2020.125895
Volume 593
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) WMA - Integrated Modeling and Prediction Division
Description 125895, 8 p.
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