This report documents the results of a study of the cost-effectiveness of the stream-gaging program in North Carolina. Data uses and funding sources are identified for the 146 gaging stations currently operated in North Carolina with a budget of $777,600 (1984). As a result of the study, eleven stations are nominated for discontinuance and five for conversion from recording to partial-record status. Large parts of North Carolina 's Coastal Plain are identified as having sparse streamflow data. This sparsity should be remedied as funds become available. Efforts should also be directed toward defining the efforts of drainage improvements on local hydrology and streamflow characteristics. The average standard error of streamflow records in North Carolina is 18.6 percent. This level of accuracy could be improved without increasing cost by increasing the frequency of field visits and streamflow measurements at stations with high standard errors and reducing the frequency at stations with low standard errors. A minimum budget of $762,000 is required to operate the 146-gage program. A budget less than this does not permit proper service and maintenance of the gages and recorders. At the minimum budget, and with the optimum allocation of field visits, the average standard error is 17.6 percent.
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Cost-effectiveness of the stream-gaging program in North Carolina