Effects of Simulated Land-Use Changes on Water Quality of Lake Maumelle, Arkansas

Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5239
Prepared in cooperation with Central Arkansas Water
By: , and 



Lake Maumelle is one of two principal drinking-water supplies for the Little Rock and North Little Rock metropolitan areas. Lake Maumelle and the Maumelle River (its primary tributary) are more pristine than most other reservoirs and streams in the region. However, as the Lake Maumelle watershed becomes increasingly more urbanized and timber harvesting becomes more frequent, concerns about the sustainability of the quality of the water supply also have increased. Two models were developed to partially address these concerns. A Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN model was developed using input data collected from October 2004 through 2008. A CE-QUAL-W2 model was developed to simulate reservoir hydrodynamics and selected water quality using the simulated output from the Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN model from January 2005 through 2008. The Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN watershed model was calibrated to five streamflow-gaging stations, and in general, these stations characterize a range of subwatershed areas with varying land-use types. Continuous streamflow data, discrete sediment concentration data, and other discrete water-quality data were used to calibrate the Lake Maumelle Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN model. The CE-QUAL-W2 reservoir model was calibrated to water-quality data and reservoir pool altitude collected during January 2005 through December 2008 at three lake stations. In general, the overall simulation for the Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN and CE-UAL-W2 models matched reasonably well to the measured data. In general, simulated and measured suspended-sediment concentrations during periods of base flow (streamflows not substantially influenced by runoff) agree reasonably well for Williams Junction (with differences-simulated minus measured value-generally ranging from -14 to 19 mg/L, and percent difference-relative to the measured value-ranging from -87 to 642 percent) and Wye (differences generally ranging from -2 to 14 mg/L, -62 to 251 percent); however, the Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN model generally does not match the suspended-sediment concentrations for all stations during periods of stormflow (streamflow substantially influenced by runoff). Generally, this is also the case for fecal coliform bacteria numbers and total organic carbon and nutrient concentrations. In general, water temperature and dissolved-oxygen concentration simulations followed measured seasonal trends for all stations with the largest differences occurring during periods of lowest water temperatures (for temperature) or during the periods of lowest measured dissolved-oxygen concentrations (for dissolved oxygen). For the CE-QUAL-W2 model, simulated vertical distributions of temperatures and dissolved-oxygen concentrations agreed with measured distributions even for complex temperature profiles. Considering the oligotrophic-mesotrophic (low to intermediate primary productivity and associated low nutrient concentrations) condition of Lake Maumelle, simulated algae, phosphorus, and ammonia concentrations compared well with generally low measured values.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Effects of Simulated Land-Use Changes on Water Quality of Lake Maumelle, Arkansas
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2010-5239
DOI 10.3133/sir20105239
Edition -
Year Published 2011
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Arkansas Water Science Center
Description ix, 103 p.
Time Range Start 2004-10-01
Time Range End 2008-10-31
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N