Factors contributing to unusually low runoff during the period 1962-68 in the Concho River Basin, Texas

Water Supply Paper 1999-L




To determine the reasons for the unusually low runoff in the Concho River basin during the period 1962-68, the physical developments and climatic changes in the basin were identified and related to changes in the regimen of streamflow.

Land use, brush infestation, and land-treatment practices have not caused significant changes in the rainfall-runoff relationship.

The use of surface water for irrigation has increased very little during the past 70 years, and although the use of ground water for irrigation has greatly increased in the past 25 years, springflow has not been significantly diminished. The base flow of the streams is materially reduced by surface-water irrigation diversions. Diversions for municipal and industrial use have increased rapidly, but these diversions affect only the streamflow downstream from San Angelo.

Statistical analyses showed the annual rainfall to be highly variable, with little serial correlation. Records of rainfall during the period 1943-68 are significantly different in character from previous long-term records. The frequency of monthly rainfall equal to or greater than 2.0 inches during the period 1943-68, and especially during the period 1962-68, was significantly less than the long-term averages.

Analyses of annual runoff data, adjusted for depletions, show large variations in annual runoff. Coefficients of variation ranged from 0.8 to 1.4, and first-order serial correlations ranged from 0.01 to 0.28. The estimated recurrence interval of the 1962-68 drought is about 200 years.

The analyses of rainfall-intensity and runoff data indicate that the basic cause for the relatively low runoff during the period 1962-68 was the lack of high-intensity, long-duration storms rather than any physical changes or agricultural practices in the watershed

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Publication type:
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USGS Numbered Series
Factors contributing to unusually low runoff during the period 1962-68 in the Concho River Basin, Texas
Series title:
Water Supply Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
v, 48 p.
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