Streamflow losses along the Balcones Fault Zone, Nueces River basin, Texas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 83-4168

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An investigation was conducted to quantify and to determine distribution of streamflow losses and gains that occur during sustained flow conditions in the Balcones Fault Zone of the Nueces River basin. The streams studied include the West Nueces, Nueces, Dry Frio, Frio, and Sabinal Rivers, and Seco, Hondo, and Verde Creeks. Streamflow measurements made during the recession of storm flows identified direct recharge to outcrops of the Edwards aquifer and related limestones that ranged from as high as 393 cubic feet per second for the Dry Frio River to as low as 42 cubic feet per second for the Sabinal River. Recharge to outcrops of the Buda Limestone, Eagle Ford Shale, and Austin Group also eventually reaches the Edwards aquifer, and measurements identified losses to these formations ranging from as high as 174 cubic feet per second for the Frio River to near zero for Verde Creek.

Statistical evaluations of historical daily flow records for the streams that have gaging stations upstream and downstream from the recharge zone provided mathematical relationships that expressed downstream flow in terms of other significant parameters. For each stream, flow entering the recharge zone is most significant in defining downstream flow; for some streams, antecedent flows at the upstream site and ground-water levels are also significantly related to downstream flow. The analyses also determined the discharges required upstream from the recharge zone to sustain flow downstream from that zone. These discharges ranged from 355 cubic feet per second for the combined Frio and Dry Frio Rivers to 33 cubic feet per second for the Nueces River. The entire flows of lesser magnitude are generally lost to recharge to the aquifer.

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USGS Numbered Series
Streamflow losses along the Balcones Fault Zone, Nueces River basin, Texas
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Austin, TX
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
Report: vi, 72 p.; Plate: 19.69 x 11.68 inches
United States
Other Geospatial:
Nueces River Basin
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