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Keywords:

  • discharge;
  • ground-water flow;
  • infiltration;
  • recharge;
  • runoff;
  • surface-water/ground-water interactions

Abstract:  The average annual base flow/recharge was determined for streamflow-gaging stations throughout Wisconsin by base-flow separation. A map of the State was prepared that shows the average annual base flow for the period 1970-99 for watersheds at 118 gaging stations. Trend analysis was performed on 22 of the 118 streamflow-gaging stations that had long-term records, unregulated flow, and provided aerial coverage of the State. The analysis found that a statistically significant increasing trend was occurring for watersheds where the primary land use was agriculture. Most gaging stations where the land cover was forest had no significant trend. A method to estimate the average annual base flow at ungaged sites was developed by multiple-regression analysis using basin characteristics. The equation with the lowest standard error of estimate, 9.5%, has drainage area, soil infiltration and base flow factor as independent variables. To determine the average annual base flow for smaller watersheds, estimates were made at low-flow partial-record stations in 3 of the 12 major river basins in Wisconsin. Regression equations were developed for each of the three major river basins using basin characteristics. Drainage area, soil infiltration, basin storage and base-flow factor were the independent variables in the regression equations with the lowest standard error of estimate. The standard error of estimate ranged from 17% to 52% for the three river basins.