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MidAtlantic Regional Streamflow Has Increased and Ground-Water Levels Have Risen
Released: 10/7/1999

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Gary Fisher 1-click interview
Phone: 410-238-4259 | FAX: 410-238-4210

Streamflow has increased throughout the Maryland/Delaware/D.C. region, and ground-water levels at the end of September are mainly in the normal range for this time of year, according to hydrologists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Although heavy rains near the end of August had little effect on ground-water levels in Maryland and Delaware, the rain from Hurricane Floyd and the subsequent September rains have begun to reverse the downward trend in water levels in most USGS observation wells.

The September precipitation caused the total river inflow to the Chesapeake Bay to be about 30.6 bgd, which was about 149 percent of the long-term September average (20.5 bgd), and nearly 3 times the inflow into the Bay in August (19.9 bgd). Although the three main rivers entering the Bay (Susquehanna, Potomac, and James) rose under the influence of Hurricane Floyd, inflows were far below record levels because of the localized pattern of rainfall during the storm [see map at http://md.water.usgs.gov/floods/floyd/rain_noaa.gif]. However, several rivers on the Delmarva Peninsula, where most of the rain from Floyd fell, were near or broke flow records. Therefore, effects of increased nutrient and sediment loads and changes in salinity on Bay resources are probably most significant in the tidal reaches of Maryland’s Eastern Shore rivers.

In September, the average daily flow rate at the gage at the Potomac River at Little Falls was about 3.7 billion gallons per day (bgd), about 192 percent of the long-term average September flow rate (1.9 bgd). The lowest flow rate for the month was about 1.3 bgd on Sept.3, and the high was about 9.6 bgd on Sept. 10. The high did not result from rains from Hurricane Floyd, which were strongly localized.

Diversions of Potomac River water for municipal use averaged about 376 mgd in September, about 20 percent less than September of 1998, and about 6 percent less than September of 1997. Contents of the Baltimore reservoir system increased to 57,730 million gallons near the end of September, which was 79 percent of average, 73 percent of the amount available in September 1998, and 90 percent of the amount available in September 1997.

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