Flow-Duration Curves

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The flow-duration curve is a cumulative curve that shows the percent of time specified discharges were equaled or exceeded during a given period. It combines in one curve the flow characteristics of a stream throughout the range of discharge, without regard to the sequence of occurrence. If the period upon which the curve is based represents the long-term flow of a stream, the curve may be used to predict the distribution of future flows for waterpower, water-supply, and pollution studies. This report shows that difference in geology affect the low-flow ends of flow-duration curves of streams in adjacent basins. Thus, duration curves are useful in appraising the geologic characteristics of drainage basins. A method for adjusting flow-duration curves of short periods to represent long-term conditions is presented. The adjustment is made by correlating the records of a short-term station with those of a long-term station.
Hydrology, Low-Flow Techniques, Flow-Duration Curves