Transmission Losses, Flood Peaks, and Groundwater Recharge

by Leonard J. Lane, USDA-ARS, Tucson, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulics/Hydrology of Arid Lands (H²AL)

Abstract: Abstractions of streamflow in ephemeral stream channels from infiltration in the channel beds and banks are called transmission losses. These losses are important because water is 'lost' as flood waves travel through the normally dry channel networks. Thus, local aquifers are recharged and runoff volumes and flood peaks are reduced over what they would be in the absence of transmission losses. Stream channels crossing alluvial fans transport water from mountain fronts to lower portion of the watersheds. Although these channels are unstable and variable in time and space, they retain their ephemeral character and thus transmission losses can exhibit their influence on flood peaks, water yield, and groundwater recharge as described for ephemeral stream channels are described. Parameters of the transmission-loss model are determined, by calibration, using measured inflow and outflow volumes from gaged ephemeral stream channel segments. Data from 127 hydrographs on 10 channel reaches in Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas are used to develop parameter estimation equations and tables of parameter values for the transmission-loss model. Example applications of the transmission-loss model in predicting flood frequency curves and in estimating potential groundwater recharge from transmission losses are described.

Subject Headings: Power transmission | Groundwater recharge | Stream channels | Flood frequency | Floods | Streamflow | Parameters (statistics) | River and stream beds | North America | United States | Nebraska | Arizona | Kansas | Texas

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