The stream-gaging network in New Hampshire was analyzed for its effectiveness in providing regional information on peak-flood flow, mean-flow, and low-flow frequency. The data available for analysis were from stream-gaging stations in New Hampshire and selected stations in adjacent States. The principles of generalized-least-squares regression analysis were applied to develop regional regression equations that relate streamflow-frequency characteristics to watershed characteristics. Regression equations were developed for (1) the instantaneous peak flow with a 100-year recurrence interval, (2) the mean-annual flow, and (3) the 7-day, 10-year low flow. Active and discontinued stream-gaging stations with 10 or more years of flow data were used to develop the regression equations.
Each stream-gaging station in the network was evaluated and ranked on the basis of how much the data from that station contributed to the cost-weighted sampling-error component of the regression equation. The potential effect of data from proposed and new stream-gaging stations on the sampling error also was evaluated. The stream-gaging network was evaluated for conditions in water year 2000 and for estimated conditions under various network strategies if an additional 5 years and 20 years of streamflow data were collected.
The effectiveness of the stream-gaging network in providing regional streamflow information could be improved for all three flow characteristics with the collection of additional flow data, both temporally and spatially. With additional years of data collection, the greatest reduction in the average sampling error of the regional regression equations was found for the peak- and low-flow characteristics. In general, additional data collection at stream-gaging stations with unregulated flow, relatively short-term record (less than 20 years), and drainage areas smaller than 45 square miles contributed the largest cost-weighted reduction to the average sampling error of the regional estimating equations. The results of the network analyses can be used to prioritize the continued operation of active stations, the reactivation of discontinued stations, or the activation of new stations to maximize the regional information content provided by the stream-gaging network. Final decisions regarding altering the New Hampshire stream-gaging network would require the consideration of the many uses of the streamflow data serving local, State, and Federal interests.