Low-flow characteristics and profiles for selected streams in the Roanoke River basin, North Carolina

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4154
Prepared in cooperation with the Division of Environmental Management of the North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources



An understanding of the magnitude and frequency of low-flow discharges is an important part of protecting surface-water resources and planning for municipal and industrial economic expansion. Low-flow characteristics are summarized for 22 continuous-record gaging stations in North Carolina (19 sites) and Virginia (3 sites) and 60 partial-record gaging stations in the North Carolina Roanoke River Basin. Records of discharge collected through the 1994 water year are used. Flow characteristics included in the summary are (1) average annual unit flow, (2) 7Q10 low-flow discharge, the minimum average discharge for a 7 consecutive-day period occurring, on average, once in 10 years; (3) 30Q2 low-flow discharge; (4) W7Q10 low-flow discharge, similar to 7Q10 discharge except that flow during November through March only is considered; and (5) 7Q2 low-flow discharge. The potential for sustaining base flows is moderate to high in the western part of the basin as well as in the eastern and western fringes of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain physiographic provinces, respectively. Areas of low potential for sustaining base flow exist in the central part of the basin (between eastern Caswell County and western Warren County), where soils have low infiltration rates, and in lower regions of the Coastal Plain, where small streams tend to have zero flow during prolonged drought.

Drainage area and low-flow discharge profiles are presented for 10 streams in the Roanoke River Basin in North Carolina and reflect a wide range in basin size, characteristics, and streamflow conditions. The selected streams are Town Fork Creek, Hogans Creek, Mayo River, Buffalo Creek, Smith River, Country Line Creek, Dan River, Marlowe Creek, Hyco River, and Roanoke River. The drainage-area profiles show the increases in drainage areas as streams travel their course in the basin. At the mouths of streams profiled, the drainage areas range from 22 miles to about 9,700 miles. Low-flow discharges for each stream include 7Q10, 30Q2, W7Q10, and 7Q2 discharges in a continuous profile with contributions from major tributaries included.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Low-flow characteristics and profiles for selected streams in the Roanoke River basin, North Carolina
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 96-4154
DOI 10.3133/wri964154
Year Published 1996
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description Report: iv, 56 p.; 1 Plate: 23.40 x 12.37 inches
Country United States
State North Carolina
Other Geospatial Roanoke River basin
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