Simulation of daily streamflow for nine river basins in eastern Iowa using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System

Scientific Investigations Report 2015-5129
Prepared in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
By: , and 

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, constructed Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System models to estimate daily streamflow for nine river basins in eastern Iowa that drain into the Mississippi River. The models are part of a suite of methods for estimating daily streamflow at ungaged sites. The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System is a deterministic, distributed- parameter, physical-process-based modeling system developed to evaluate the response of streamflow and general drainage basin hydrology to various combinations of climate and land use. Calibration and validation periods used in each basin mostly were October 1, 2002, through September 30, 2012, but differed depending on the period of record available for daily mean streamflow measurements at U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging stations.

A geographic information system tool was used to delineate each basin and estimate values for model parameters based on basin physical and geographical features. A U.S. Geological Survey auto-calibration tool that uses a shuffled complex evolution algorithm was used for initial calibration, and then manual modifications were made to parameter values to complete the calibration of each basin model. The main objective of the calibration was to match daily discharge values of simulated streamflow to measured daily discharge values.

The accuracy of Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System model streamflow estimates of nine river basins in eastern Iowa as compared to measured values at U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging stations varied. The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System models of nine river basins in eastern Iowa were satisfactory at estimating daily streamflow at 57 of the 79 calibration sites and 13 of the 14 validation sites based on statistical results. Unsatisfactory performance can be contributed to several factors: (1) low flow, no flow, and flashy flow conditions in headwater subbasins having a small drainage area; (2) poor representation of the groundwater and storage components of flow within a basin; (3) lack of accounting for basin withdrawals and water use; and (4) the availability and accuracy of meteorological input data. The Precipitation- Runoff Modeling System models of nine river basins in eastern Iowa will provide water-resource managers with a consistent and documented method for estimating streamflow at ungaged sites and aid in environmental studies, hydraulic design, water management, and water-quality projects.

Suggested Citation

Haj, A.E., Christiansen, D.E., and Hutchinson, K.J., 2015, Simulation of daily streamflow for nine river basins in eastern Iowa using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5129, 29 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20155129.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Model Development
  • Simulation of Daily Streamflow for Nine River Basins in Eastern Iowa Using the
    Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System
  • Model Limitations
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Simulation of daily streamflow for nine river basins in eastern Iowa using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2015-5129
DOI 10.3133/sir20155129
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Iowa Water Science Center
Description iv, 29 p.
Country United States
State Iowa
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N