Simulation of daily streamflow for 12 river basins in western Iowa using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System

Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5091
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 12 river basins in western Iowa that drain into the Missouri River. 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 periods for each basin varied 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 initial values for model parameters based on basin physical and geographical features. A U.S. Geological Survey automatic 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 Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System model was calibrated at 42 sites located in the 12 river basins in western Iowa.

The accuracy of the simulated daily streamflow values at the 42 calibration sites varied by river and by site. The models were satisfactory at 36 of the sites based on statistical results. Unsatisfactory performance at the six other sites can be attributed 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) limited availability and accuracy of meteorological input data. The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System models of 12 river basins in western 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

Christiansen, D.E., Haj, A.E., and Risely, J.C., 2017, Simulation of daily streamflow for 12 river basins in western Iowa using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5091, 27 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175091.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Model Development
  • Simulation of Daily Streamflow for 12 River Basins in Western 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 12 river basins in western Iowa using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2017-5091
DOI 10.3133/sir20175091
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Iowa Water Science Center
Description iv, 27 p.
Country United States
State Iowa
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N