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Comparison of stage/discharge rating curves derived from different recording systems: Consequences for streamflow data and water management in a Mediterranean island

AuthorsFortesa, Josep; García-Comendador, Julián; Calsamiglia, Aleix; López-Tarazón, José Andrés; Latron, J.; Alorda, Bartomeu; Estrany, Joan
Error propagation
Hydrometric networks
Issue Date15-May-2019
CitationScience of the Total Environment 665: 968-981 (2019)
AbstractObtaining representative hydrometric values is essential for characterizing extreme events, hydrological dynamics and detecting possible changes on the long-term hydrology. Reliability of streamflow data requires a temporal continuity and a maintenance of the gauging stations, which data are affected by epistemic and random sources of error. An assessment of discharge meterings' and stage-discharge rating curves' uncertainties were carried out by comparing the accuracy of the measuring instruments of two different hydrometric networks (i.e., one analogical and one digital) established in the same river location at the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. Furthermore, the effects of such uncertainties were assessed on the hydrological dynamics, considering the significant global change impacts beset this island. Evaluation was developed at four representative gauging stations of the hydrographic network with analogic (≈40 years) and digital (≈10 years) data series. The study revealed that the largest source of uncertainty in the analogical (28 to 274%) and in the digital (17–37%) networks were the stage-discharge rating curves. Their impact on the water resources was also evaluated at the event and annual scales, resulting in an average difference of water yields of 183% and 142% respectively. Such improvement on the comprehension of hydrometric networks uncertainties will dramatically benefit the interpretation of the long-term streamflow by providing better insights into the hydrologic and flood hazard planning, management and modelling. © 2019
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.158
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