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Open-File Report 2015–1082

Prepared in cooperation with the Providence Water Supply Board

Streamflow, Water Quality, and Constituent Loads and Yields, Scituate Reservoir Drainage Area, Rhode Island, Water Year 2013

By Kirk P. Smith


Streamflow and concentrations of sodium and chloride estimated from records of specific conductance were used to calculate loads of sodium and chloride during water year (WY) 2013 (October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013) for tributaries to the Scituate Reservoir, Rhode Island. Streamflow and water-quality data used in the study were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) or the Providence Water Supply Board (PWSB) in the cooperative study. Streamflow was measured or estimated by the USGS following standard methods at 23 streamgages; 14 of these streamgages are equipped with instrumentation capable of continuously monitoring water level, specific conductance, and water temperature. Water-quality samples were collected at 37 sampling stations by the PWSB and at 14 continuous-record streamgages by the USGS during WY 2013 as part of a long-term sampling program; all stations are in the Scituate Reservoir drainage area. Water-quality data collected by the PWSB are summarized by using values of central tendency and are used, in combination with measured (or estimated) streamflows, to calculate loads and yields (loads per unit area) of selected water-quality constituents for WY 2013.

The largest tributary to the reservoir (the Ponaganset River, which was monitored by the USGS) contributed a mean streamflow of 30 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) to the reservoir during WY 2013. For the same time period, annual mean1 streamflows measured (or estimated) for the other monitoring stations in this study ranged from about 0.45 to about 19 ft3/s. Together, tributaries (equipped with instrumentation capable of continuously monitoring specific conductance) transported about 1,300,000 kilograms (kg) of sodium and 2,100,000 kg of chloride to the Scituate Reservoir during WY 2013; sodium and chloride yields for the tributaries ranged from 8,600 to 58,000 kilograms per square mile (kg/mi2) and from 14,000 to 97,000 kg/mi2, respectively.

At the stations where water-quality samples were collected by the PWSB, the median of the median chloride concentrations was 18 milligrams per liter (mg/L), median nitrite concentration was 0.002 mg/L as nitrogen (N), median nitrate concentration was less than 0.01 mg/L as N, median orthophosphate concentration was 0.128 mg/L as phosphate, and median concentrations of total coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli (E. coli) were 330 and 15 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters (CFU/100mL), respectively. The medians of the median daily loads (and yields) of chloride, nitrite, nitrate, orthophosphate, and total coliform and E. coli bacteria were 100 kilograms per day (kg/d; 50 kilograms per day per square mile [kg/d/mi2]), 10 grams per day (g/d; 5.1 grams per day per square mile [g/d/mi2]), 73 g/d (28 g/d/mi2), 720 g/d (320 g/d/mi2), 21,000 colony-forming units per day (CFU×106/d; 8,700 CFU×106/d/mi2), and 1,000 CFU×106/d (510 CFU×106/d/mi2), respectively.

First posted June 3, 2015

  • Appendix 1 XLS (32 KB)
    Water-quality data collected by the Providence Water Supply Board at 37 monitoring stations in the Scituate Reservoir drainage area, Rhode Island, water year 2013.

For additional information, contact:
Director, New England Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
10 Bearfoot Road
Northborough, MA 01532
(508) 490-5000

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Suggested citation:

Smith, K.P., 2015, Streamflow, water quality, and constituent loads and yields, Scituate Reservoir drainage area, Rhode Island, water year 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1082, 31 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)




Streamflow Data Collection and Estimation

Water-Quality Data Collection and Analysis

Estimating Daily, Monthly, and Annual Loads and Yields


Water Quality and Constituent Loads And Yields

References Cited

Appendix 1. Water-Quality Data Collected by the Providence Water Supply Board at 37 Monitoring Stations in the Scituate Reservoir Drainage Area, Water Year 2013

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