Part of the mission of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is to protect and preserve South Carolina's water resources. Doing so requires an ongoing understanding of streamflow characteristics of the rivers and streams in South Carolina. A particular need is information concerning the low-flow characteristics of streams; this information is especially important for effectively managing the State's water resources during critical flow periods such as the severe drought that occurred between 1998 and 2002 and the most recent drought that occurred between 2006 and 2009. In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, initiated a study to update low-flow statistics at continuous-record streamgaging stations operated by the U.S. Geological Survey in South Carolina. Under this agreement, the low-flow characteristics at continuous-record streamgaging stations will be updated in a systematic manner during the monitoring and assessment of the eight major basins in South Carolina as defined and grouped according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's Watershed Water Quality Management Strategy. Depending on the length of record available at the continuous-record streamgaging stations, low-flow frequency characteristics are estimated for annual minimum 1-, 3-, 7-, 14-, 30-, 60-, and 90-day average flows with recurrence intervals of 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 50 years. Low-flow statistics are presented for 18 streamgaging stations in the Pee Dee River basin. In addition, daily flow durations for the 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 75-, 90-, and 95-percent probability of exceedance also are presented for the stations. The low-flow characteristics were computed from records available through March 31, 2007. The last systematic update of low-flow characteristics in South Carolina occurred more than 20 years ago and included data through March 1987. Of the 17 streamgaging stations included in this study, 15 had low-flow characteristics that were published in previous U.S. Geological Survey reports. A comparison of the low-flow characteristic for the minimum average flow for a 7-consecutive-day period with a 10-year recurrence interval from this study with the most recently published values indicated that 10 of the 15 streamgaging stations had values that were within ±25 percent of each other. Nine of the 15 streamgaging stations had negative percentage differences indicating the low-flow statistic had decreased since the previous study, 4 streamgaging stations had positive percent differences indicating that the low-flow statistic had increased since the previous study, and 2 streamgaging stations had a zero percent difference indicating no change since the previous study. The low-flow characteristics are influenced by length of record, hydrologic regime under which the record was collected, techniques used to do the analysis, and other changes that may have occurred in the watershed.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Low-flow frequency and flow duration of selected South Carolina streams in the Pee Dee River basin through March 2007