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Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5248

Prepared in cooperation with the Kentucky Division of Water

The Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER): A Water-Budget Modeling Approach for Managing Water-Supply Resources in Kentucky—Phase I: Data Processing, Model Development, and Application to Non-Karst Areas

By Tanja N. Williamson, Kenneth R. Odom, Jeremy K. Newson, Aimee C. Downs, Hugh L. Nelson Jr., Peter J. Cinotto, and Mark A. Ayers


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The Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER) was developed in cooperation with the Kentucky Division of Water to provide a consistent and defensible method of estimating streamflow and water availability in ungaged basins. WATER is process oriented; it is based on the TOPMODEL code and incorporates historical water-use data together with physiographic data that quantitatively describe topography and soil-water storage. The result is a user-friendly decision tool that can estimate water availability in non-karst areas of Kentucky without additional data or processing. The model runs on a daily time step, and critical source data include a historical record of daily temperature and precipitation, digital elevation models (DEMs), the Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO), and historical records of water discharges and withdrawals. The model was calibrated and statistically evaluated for 12 basins by comparing the estimated discharge to that observed at U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging stations. When statistically evaluated over a 2,119-day time period, the discharge estimates showed a bias of -0.29 to 0.42, a root mean square error of 1.66 to 5.06, a correlation of 0.54 to 0.85, and a Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency of 0.26 to 0.72. The parameter and input modifications that most significantly improved the accuracy and precision of streamflow-discharge estimates were the addition of Next Generation radar (NEXRAD) precipitation data, a rooting depth of 30 centimeters, and a TOPMODEL scaling parameter (m) derived directly from SSURGO data that was multiplied by an adjustment factor of 0.10. No site-specific optimization was used.

Posted December 31, 2009

For additional information contact:
Director, Kentucky Water
   Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
9818 Bluegrass Parkway
Louisville, KY 40299

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Suggested citation:

Williamson, T.N., Odom, K.R., Newson, J.K., Downs, A.C., Nelson Jr., H.L., Cinotto, P.J., and Ayers, M.A., 2009, The Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER)—A water-budget modeling approach for managing water-supply resources in Kentucky—Phase I—Data processing, model development, and application to non-karst areas: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5248, 34 p.




Study Area, Data Sources, and Model Development and Calibration

Structure and Output of WATER

Data Processing and Organization

Statistical Evaluation and Calibration of WATER

Model Applications and Limitations


References Cited

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