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Open-File Report 2014–1113

Prepared in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Low-Flow Frequency and Flow Duration of Selected South Carolina Streams in the Catawba-Wateree and Santee River Basins through March 2012

By Toby D. Feaster and Wladmir B. Guimaraes

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.06 MB)Abstract

Part of the mission of both the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is to protect and preserve South Carolina’s water resources. Doing so requires an ongoing understanding of streamflow characteristics of the rivers and streams in South Carolina. A particular need is information concerning the low-flow characteristics of streams, which is especially important for effectively managing the State’s water resources during critical flow periods, such as during the historic droughts that South Carolina has experienced in the past few decades.

In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, initiated a study to update low-flow statistics at continuous-record streamgaging stations operated by the U.S. Geological Survey in South Carolina. This report presents the low-flow statistics for 11 selected streamgaging stations in the Catawba-Wateree and Santee River Basins in South Carolina and 2 in North Carolina. For five of the streamgaging stations, low-flow statistics include daily mean flow durations or the 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 75-, 90-, and 95-percent probability of exceedance and the annual minimum 1-, 3-, 7-, 14-, 30-, 60-, and 90-day mean flows with recurrence intervals of 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 50 years, depending on the length of record available at the streamgaging station. For the other eight streamgaging stations, only daily mean flow durations and (or) exceedance percentiles of annual minimum 7-day average flows are provided due to regulation. In either case, the low-flow statistics were computed from records available through March 31, 2012.

Of the five streamgaging stations for which recurrence interval computations were made, three streamgaging stations in South Carolina were compared to low-flow statistics that were published in previous U.S. Geological Survey reports. A comparison of the low-flow statistics for the annual minimum 7-day average streamflow with a 10-year recurrence interval (7Q10) from this study with the most recently published values indicated that two of the streamgaging stations had values lower than the previous values and the 7Q10 for the third station remained unchanged at zero. Low-flow statistics are influenced by length of record, hydrologic regime under which the data were collected, analytical techniques used, and other factors, such as urbanization, diversions, and droughts that may have occurred in the basin.

First posted July 2, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, South Carolina Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Stephenson Center, Suite 129
Gracern Road
Columbia, SC 29210-7651

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Suggested citation:

Feaster, T.D., and Guimaraes, W.B., 2014, Low-flow frequency and flow duration of selected South Carolina streams in the Catawba-Wateree and Santee River Basins through March 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1113, 34 p.,

ISSN 2331–1258 (online)




Low-Flow Statistics

Analytical Considerations

Considerations for Accuracy of Low-Flow Statistics

Comparison with Previously Published Low-Flow Statistics


References Cited

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