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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Southeast Watershed Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #367580

Research Project: Enhancing Water Resources, Production Efficiency and Ecosystem Services in Gulf Atlantic Coastal Plain Agricultural Watersheds

Location: Southeast Watershed Research

Title: Peak flow characterization for the Little River Experimental Watershed.

Author
item Bosch, David - Dave
item BIEGER, KATRIN - TEXAS A&M AGRILIFE
item Arnold, Jeffrey
item ALLEN, PETER - BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/24/2021
Publication Date: 5/17/2022
Citation: Bosch, D.D., Bieger, K., Arnold, J.G., Allen, P. 2022. Peak flow characterization for the Little River Experimental Watershed.. Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds. 217p.. https://doi.org/10.2737/SRS-GTR-264.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2737/SRS-GTR-264

Interpretive Summary: Peak-streamflow estimates are required for assessment of flood risk, flood-plain management, and cost-effective design of structures. A lack of understanding of peak-streamflow responses of watersheds can lead to extreme economic impact and in some cases loss of life. In watersheds with shallow water tables, peak-streamflow is heavily influenced by available water storage in the subsoil. Available storage is influenced by topography, geology, vegetation, antecedent rainfall, and climatic season. Accurate streamflow estimates must incorporate accurate representations of the available storage. We examined forty-seven (1972-2018) years of streamflow data from the Little River Experimental Watershed (LREW) to determine peak flow characteristics and relationships to antecedent moisture conditions. The LREW is located near Tifton, Georgia, in the Coastal Plain physiographic region of the U.S. Flow within the watershed is heavily influenced by saturation in the surficial aquifer. Peak flow events from this period of record were examined based upon antecedent rainfall, aquifer saturation, and climatic season. Cumulative frequency distributions of observed average daily flows were determined and compared to other regional watersheds. Maximum daily flows were examined to determine the period of the year when they were most likely to occur and how they related to antecedent moisture conditions.

Technical Abstract: Peak-streamflow estimates are required for assessment of flood risk, flood-plain management, and cost-effective design of structures. A lack of understanding of peak-streamflow responses of watersheds can lead to extreme economic impact and in some cases loss of life. In watersheds with shallow water tables, peak-streamflow is heavily influenced by available water storage in the subsoil. Available storage is influenced by topography, geology, vegetation, antecedent rainfall, and climatic season. Accurate streamflow estimates must incorporate accurate representations of the available storage. We examined forty-seven (1972-2018) years of streamflow data from the Little River Experimental Watershed (LREW) to determine peak flow characteristics and relationships to antecedent moisture conditions. The LREW is located near Tifton, Georgia, in the Coastal Plain physiographic region of the U.S. Flow within the watershed is heavily influenced by saturation in the surficial aquifer. Peak flow events from this period of record were examined based upon antecedent rainfall, aquifer saturation, and climatic season. Cumulative frequency distributions of observed average daily flows were determined and compared to other regional watersheds. Maximum daily flows were examined to determine the period of the year when they were most likely to occur and how they related to antecedent moisture conditions.