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Updated Peak Streamflow Estimates for Utah
Released: 10/2/2007 2:15:54 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Terry Kenney 1-click interview
Phone: 801-908-5046

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has recently released new models for determining the magnitude and frequency of annual peak streamflow for rivers and streams throughout the State of Utah. Using streamflow data collected through water year 2005 and advanced analysis techniques, these new equations are critical for infrastructure project planning, managing resources and public safety.

For more than 100 years, the USGS has published the recorded annual peak flow at streamflow gaging stations. Annual peak flow is the largest computed streamflow recorded at a gaging station during a single water year (October 1 to September 30.) 

Using peak flow data from 344 gaging stations in Utah and nearby surrounding states, estimates of the 2-, 5-,10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year recurrence interval peak flows were determined. These estimates, along with 23 climatic and physiographic characteristics computed for each station, were then used to develop regional regression equations to estimate peak streamflow for ungaged streams, with similar characteristics, throughout Utah.

The new equations to estimate peak streamflow frequency and magnitude for the State of Utah are published in the report "Methods for Estimating Magnitude and Frequency of Peak Flows for Natural Streams in Utah." The report describes the methods used in developing equations to estimate peak streamflow at ungaged sites. Estimates of the 2-, 5-,10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year recurrence interval peak flows for the 344 streamflow gaging stations used in the study are also provided in the report. These new estimates and equations update the previous statewide estimates and equations which used peak streamflow data through water year 1986.

This report was prepared in cooperation with the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Divisions of Water Rights and Water Resources. USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5158 "Methods for Estimating Magnitude and Frequency of Peak Flows for Natural Streams in Utah" by Terry A. Kenney, Chris D. Wilkowske, and Shane J. Wright is available online at pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2007/5158/. For additional information, please contact Terry Kenney at the USGS Utah Water Science Center.

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