Quantifying regional low flows under data scarce conditions

Heliyon. 2024 Mar 27;10(7):e28728. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e28728. eCollection 2024 Apr 15.


Estimating low flow quantiles is essential for regulating minimum flow requirements and ensuring water availability, ecological health, and overall system sustainability. This study aims to quantify regional low flows by analyzing low-flow time series in data-limited environments. We utilized annual minimum 7-day instantaneous streamflow data collected from gaging stations. Discordancy measure assessments revealed that all sites were homogeneous, forming a single region. We employed Easy-Fit Statistical Software to select the best-fit probability distribution model and determine estimation parameter values. Through goodness-of-fit tests (GOFs), the Generalized Pareto model emerged as the most suitable, predicting low flow quantiles for 100-year returns. Rigorous application of GOFs ensures the statistical soundness of the model, capturing underlying data patterns. A correlation coefficient determination (R2) of 0.989 demonstrates the high satisfaction of the selected distribution model. The developed regression line for the region exhibited strong agreement between predicted low flows and catchment area. Thus, accurate estimation proves valuable in environmental and human-influenced decision-making processes, providing insights into low-flow behavior and mitigating drought effects on aquatic ecosystems.

Keywords: Data quality; Distribution models; Goodness of fit tests; Low flow quantiles.