Low-flow characteristics of streams in South Carolina

Open-File Report 2017-1110
Prepared in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
By:  and 



An ongoing understanding of streamflow characteristics of the rivers and streams in South Carolina is important for the protection and preservation of the State’s water resources. Information concerning the low-flow characteristics of streams is especially important during critical flow periods, such as during the historic droughts that South Carolina has experienced in the past few decades.

Between 2008 and 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, updated low-flow statistics at 106 continuous-record streamgages operated by the U.S. Geological Survey for the eight major river basins in South Carolina. The low-flow frequency statistics included the annual minimum 1-, 3-, 7-, 14-, 30-, 60-, and 90-day mean flows with recurrence intervals of 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 50 years, depending on the length of record available at the streamflow-gaging station. Computations of daily mean flow durations for the 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 75-, 90-, and 95-percent probability of exceedance also were included.

This report summarizes the findings from publications generated during the 2008 to 2016 investigations. Trend analyses for the annual minimum 7-day average flows are provided as well as trend assessments of long-term annual precipitation data. Statewide variability in the annual minimum 7-day average flow is assessed at eight long-term (record lengths from 55 to 78 years) streamgages. If previous low-flow statistics were available, comparisons with the updated annual minimum 7-day average flow, having a 10-year recurrence interval, were made. In addition, methods for estimating low-flow statistics at ungaged locations near a gaged location are described.

Suggested Citation

Feaster, T.D., and Guimaraes, W.B., 2017, Low-flow characteristics of streams in South Carolina: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1110, 161 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171110.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract 
  • Introduction
  • Low-Flow Characteristics
  • Statistical Analysis of Trends in Annual Minimum 7-Day Average Flows and Precipitation Data 
  • Flow Variability
  • Comparison With Previously Published Low-Flow Statistics
  • Estimates of Low-flow Statistics at Ungaged Sites 
  • Summary
  • Selected References
  • Glossary
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Low-flow characteristics of streams in South Carolina
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2017-1110
DOI 10.3133/ofr20171110
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description vi, 161 p.
Country United States
State South Carolina
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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Additional publication details