Regional Rainfall-Runoff Relations for Simulation of Streamflow for Watersheds in Lake County, Illinois

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4023
Prepared in cooperation with the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission
By: , and 



Rainfall and streamflow data collected in Lake County, Ill., from March 1990 through September 1993 were used to (1) calibrate a rainfall-runoff model for an area encompassing three watersheds (individual areas of 17.2, 35.7, and 37.0 mi2 (square miles) and (2) verify the regional model parameter set obtained from the calibration by applying the parameter set to rainfall-runoff models for an additional small (6.3 mi2) watershed and a large (59.6 mi2) watershed. In addition, rainfall and streamflow data collected from April 1991 through September 1993 were used to calibrate the rainfall-runoff model for three single land-use watersheds (38.2-305 acres), called hydrologic response units (HRU's). Significant differences were found between the best parameters used in the HRU models and in the larger watershed models. The main channels in the HRU's are intermittent streams; thus, the parameters in the HRU models were selected such that a fluctuating water table could be simulated; runoff from the larger watersheds is not as sensitive to the effects of a fluctuating water table. Classification of land cover into two pervious subareas (forest and grass) and one impervious subarea (including parking lots, streets, and rooftops, among others) was sufficient to simulate the rainfall-runoff relations for all watersheds accurately. The model parameters presented in this report, which were refined through regional calibration and verified for watersheds not considered in the calibration, allow simulation of runoff in watersheds in Lake County, Ill., with approximately 93-percent accuracy in the total water balance, an average absolute error in the annual- flow estimates of 10.9 percent (and an error rarely exceeding 25 percent for annual flow), and monthly water balances with correlation coefficients of 93 percent and coefficients of model-fit efficiency of 86 percent. The models closely reproduced the partial-duration series of runoff and storm-runoff frequencies for the modeled watersheds.

Suggested Citation

Duncker, J.J., Vail, T.J., and Melching, C.S., 1995, Regional rainfall-runoff relations for simulation of streamflow for watersheds in Lake County, Illinois: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 95–4023, 70 p.,

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Description of Study Area
  • Methods of Study
  • Simulation of Streamflow
  • Rainrall-Runoff Relations
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited
  • Appendix A—Example User Control Input (UCI) File For Simulating Watersheds
    With The Hydrological Simulation Program–Fortran (HSPF)
  • Appendix B—Example User Control Input (UCI) File For Simulating Hydrologic
    Response Units (HRU’s) With The Hydrological Simulation Program–Fortran (HSPF)
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Regional rainfall-runoff relations for simulation of streamflow for watersheds in Lake County, Illinois
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 95-4023
DOI 10.3133/wri954023
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Illinois Water Science Center
Description v, 71 p.
Country United States
State Illinois
County Lake County
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details