The weather and precipitation patterns in Missouri vary considerably from year to year. In 2008, the statewide average rainfall was 57.34 inches and in 2012, the statewide average rainfall was 30.64 inches. This variability in precipitation and resulting streamflow in Missouri underlies the necessity for water managers and users to have reliable streamflow statistics and a means to compute select statistics at ungaged locations for a better understanding of water availability. Knowledge of surface-water availability is dependent on the streamflow data that have been collected and analyzed by the U.S. Geological Survey for more than 100 years at approximately 350 streamgages throughout Missouri. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, computed streamflow statistics at streamgages through the 2010 water year, defined periods of drought and defined methods to estimate streamflow statistics at ungaged locations, and developed regional regression equations to compute selected streamflow statistics at ungaged locations.
Streamflow statistics and flow durations were computed for 532 streamgages in Missouri and in neighboring States of Missouri. For streamgages with more than 10 years of record, Kendall’s tau was computed to evaluate for trends in streamflow data. If trends were detected, the variable length method was used to define the period of no trend. Water years were removed from the dataset from the beginning of the record for a streamgage until no trend was detected. Low-flow frequency statistics were then computed for the entire period of record and for the period of no trend if 10 or more years of record were available for each analysis.
Three methods are presented for computing selected streamflow statistics at ungaged locations. The first method uses power curve equations developed for 28 selected streams in Missouri and neighboring States that have multiple streamgages on the same streams. Statistical estimates on one of these streams can be calculated at an ungaged location that has a drainage area that is between 40 percent of the drainage area of the farthest upstream streamgage and within 150 percent of the drainage area of the farthest downstream streamgage along the stream of interest. The second method may be used on any stream with a streamgage that has operated for 10 years or longer and for which anthropogenic effects have not changed the low-flow characteristics at the ungaged location since collection of the streamflow data. A ratio of drainage area of the stream at the ungaged location to the drainage area of the stream at the streamgage was computed to estimate the statistic at the ungaged location. The range of applicability is between 40- and 150-percent of the drainage area of the streamgage, and the ungaged location must be located on the same stream as the streamgage. The third method uses regional regression equations to estimate selected low-flow frequency statistics for unregulated streams in Missouri. This report presents regression equations to estimate frequency statistics for the 10-year recurrence interval and for the N-day durations of 1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 30, and 60 days.
Basin and climatic characteristics were computed using geographic information system software and digital geospatial data. A total of 35 characteristics were computed for use in preliminary statewide and regional regression analyses based on existing digital geospatial data and previous studies. Spatial analyses for geographical bias in the predictive accuracy of the regional regression equations defined three low-flow regions with the State representing the three major physiographic provinces in Missouri. Region 1 includes the Central Lowlands, Region 2 includes the Ozark Plateaus, and Region 3 includes the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. A total of 207 streamgages were used in the regression analyses for the regional equations. Of the 207 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages, 77 were located in Region 1, 120 were located in Region 2, and 10 were located in Region 3. Streamgages located outside of Missouri were selected to extend the range of data used for the independent variables in the regression analyses. Streamgages included in the regression analyses had 10 or more years of record and were considered to be affected minimally by anthropogenic activities or trends. Regional regression analyses identified three characteristics as statistically significant for the development of regional equations. For Region 1, drainage area, longest flow path, and streamflow-variability index were statistically significant. The range in the standard error of estimate for Region 1 is 79.6 to 94.2 percent. For Region 2, drainage area and streamflow variability index were statistically significant, and the range in the standard error of estimate is 48.2 to 72.1 percent. For Region 3, drainage area and streamflow-variability index also were statistically significant with a range in the standard error of estimate of 48.1 to 96.2 percent.
Limitations on the use of estimating low-flow frequency statistics at ungaged locations are dependent on the method used. The first method outlined for use in Missouri, power curve equations, were developed to estimate the selected statistics for ungaged locations on 28 selected streams with multiple streamgages located on the same stream. A second method uses a drainage-area ratio to compute statistics at an ungaged location using data from a single streamgage on the same stream with 10 or more years of record. Ungaged locations on these streams may use the ratio of the drainage area at an ungaged location to the drainage area at a streamgage location to scale the selected statistic value from the streamgage location to the ungaged location. This method can be used if the drainage area of the ungaged location is within 40 to 150 percent of the streamgage drainage area. The third method is the use of the regional regression equations. The limits for the use of these equations are based on the ranges of the characteristics used as independent variables and that streams must be affected minimally by anthropogenic activities.