Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Techniques and Methods 3–B10

U.S. Geological Survey Groundwater Toolbox, A Graphical and Mapping Interface for Analysis of Hydrologic Data (Version 1.0)—User Guide for Estimation of Base Flow, Runoff, and Groundwater Recharge From Streamflow Data

By Paul M. Barlow, William L. Cunningham, Tong Zhai, and Mark Gray

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.83MB)Abstract

This report is a user guide for the streamflow-hydrograph analysis methods provided with version 1.0 of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Groundwater Toolbox computer program. These include six hydrograph-separation methods to determine the groundwater-discharge (base-flow) and surface-runoff components of streamflow—the Base-Flow Index (BFI; Standard and Modified), HYSEP (Fixed Interval, Sliding Interval, and Local Minimum), and PART methods—and the RORA recession-curve displacement method and associated RECESS program to estimate groundwater recharge from streamflow data. The Groundwater Toolbox is a customized interface built on the nonproprietary, open source MapWindow geographic information system software. The program provides graphing, mapping, and analysis capabilities in a Microsoft Windows computing environment. In addition to the four hydrograph-analysis methods, the Groundwater Toolbox allows for the retrieval of hydrologic time-series data (streamflow, groundwater levels, and precipitation) from the USGS National Water Information System, downloading of a suite of preprocessed geographic information system coverages and meteorological data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center, and analysis of data with several preprocessing and postprocessing utilities. With its data retrieval and analysis tools, the Groundwater Toolbox provides methods to estimate many of the components of the water budget for a hydrologic basin, including precipitation; streamflow; base flow; runoff; groundwater recharge; and total, groundwater, and near-surface evapotranspiration.

First posted January 13, 2015

For additional information, contact:
Office of Groundwater
U.S. Geological Survey
411 National Center
Reston, VA 20192

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). For best results viewing and printing PDF documents, it is recommended that you download the documents to your computer and open them with Adobe Reader. PDF documents opened from your browser may not display or print as intended. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge. More information about viewing, downloading, and printing report files can be found here.

Suggested citation:

Barlow, P.M., Cunningham, W.L., Zhai, Tong, and Gray, Mark, 2015, U.S. Geological Survey groundwater toolbox, a graphical and mapping interface for analysis of hydrologic data (version 1.0)—User guide for estimation of base flow, runoff, and groundwater recharge from streamflow data: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 3-B10, 27 p.,

ISSN 2328-7055 (online)




Getting Started

Base-Flow And Runoff Components Of Streamflow: Hydrograph Separation

Groundwater Recharge

Water Budgets for the Example Basin


References Cited

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Friday, December 02, 2016, 03:52:00 PM