Home Archived January 13, 2017

Water-Supply Paper 2400 (Tennessee Section)

WSP 2400. Hoos, A.B., 1993, Tennessee--Stream water quality, in Paulson, R.W., Chase, E.B., Williams, J.S., and Moody, D.W., comps., National water summary 1990-91--hydrologic events and stream water quality: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2400, p. 499-506.


Abundant precipitation (about 48 inches annually) provides Tennessee with a large supply of stream water (U.S. Geological Survey, 1986, p. 425-430). Surface-water withdrawals for offstream use in 1985 averaged 8,010 Mgal/d (million gallons per day), or 95 percent of the combined surface- and ground-water withdrawals for offstream use. The major offstream uses of surface water were thermoelectric power generation (6,060 Mgal/d), industrial supply (1,510 Mgal/d), and public supply for domestic, commercial, and industrial use (384 Mgal/d) (U.S. Geological Survey, 1990, p. 469-472). Surface water is the principal source for public supply in central and eastern Tennessee, where the ground-water resources are limited.

Most of Tennessee's stream water is suitable for all uses designated by the State (Tennessee Department of Health and Environment, 1990, p. 2). These designated uses are domestic, commercial, and industrial water supply; propagation and maintenance of aquatic life; wildlife maintenance; livestock watering; irrigation; navigation; recreation; and enjoyment of scenic and esthetic qualities (Tennessee Department of Health and Environment, 1987, p. 1). The relative importance assigned to each designated use differs within and among drainage basins.

The suitability of stream water for its designated uses can be affected by land use. Land use in Tennessee is determined in part by physiography. Rolling hills and broad flood plains in the Coastal Plain province support the greatest concentration of agricultural activity. Thin soils in the Western Valley and Cumberland Plateau are inadequate for farming; therefore, those areas remain predominantly forested. Gently rolling areas within the Valley and Ridge province, Highland Rim, Central Basin, and Sequatchie Valley support some cropland and pasture in addition to forest. Land in the Blue Ridge province of eastern Tennessee is rugged and densely forested.

The Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers are the major streams in Tennessee. In the drainage basins of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, reservoirs provide flood control, navigation routes, electric power, and water supplies for growing population centers along the rivers. The State's 1990 population was 4.9 million--an increase of 6.2 percent from 1980 (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1990 decennial census files).

References (for abstract only)

Tennessee Department of Health and Environment, 1987, Tennessee's water quality criteria and stream use classifications for interstate and intrastate streams: Nashville, Tenn., Water Quality Control Board, 65 p.

Tennessee Department of Health and Environment, 1990, The status of water quality in Tennessee--The 1990 305(b) report: Nashville, Tenn., Office of Water Management, 181 p.

U.S. Geological Survey, 1986, National water summary 1985--Hydrologic events and surface-water resources: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2300, 506 p.

U.S. Geological Survey, 1990, National water summary 1987--Hydrologic events and water supply and use: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2350, 553 p.

Ordering Information

Orders for reports must include report number and the complete title of report. Prices of copies may be obtained by calling 1-888-ASK-USGS; payment must accompany your order.

U.S. Geological Survey
Branch of Information Service
Box 25286
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Last update: Tuesday, 08-Jan-2013 14:46:37 EST
URL: http://tn.water.usgs.gov /pubs/abstracts/WSP2400.htm
USGS Privacy Policy || Disclaimer || Accessibility

Search the Tennessee site: