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John Barton Payne, Secretary P /\A

United States Geological Survey

George Otis Smith, Director

Water-Sup^y Paper



OF THE '«Co^%f^




Prepared In cooperatien with THE state of CALIFOBNU




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Introduction 9

Investigations of stream flow i n California 10

Cooperation and acknowledgments 11

Definition of terms 13

Explanation of da ta 14

Conditions at gaging stations in southern California 15

Accuracy and reliability of field data and computed records 17

Convenient equivalents 18

Gaging stations 20

Tia Juana River basin : , 22

General features 22

Gaging-station records 23

Tia Juana River near Nestor, CaUf 23

Cottonwood Creek near Dulzura, Calif 24

Pine Valley Creek near Dulzura, Calif 36

Dulzura conduit near Dulzura, Calif 39

Miscellaneous measurements 43

Sweetwater River basin 44

Creneial features 44

Gaging-etation records 44

Sweetwater River near Descanso, Calif 44

Sweetwater River near Dehesa, Calif 54

Sweetwater River at Sweetwater reservoir, Calif 57

Miscellaneous measurements 58

San Diego River basin 58

General features 58

Gaging-station records 59

San Diego River at diverting dam near Lakeside, Calif 59

San Diego River at Lakeside, Calif 65

San Diego River near Santee, Calif 79

San Diego River at San Diego, Calif 83

Boulder Creek near Julian, Calif 86

Boulder Creek near Lakeside, Calif 90

Cuyamaca Water Co. 's flume at diverting dam near Lakeside, Calif. . . 93

Cuyamaca Water Co. 's flmne near Lakeside, Calif 99

South Fork of San Diego River near Alpine, Calif 108

South Fork of Cuyamaca Water Co. 's flume near Alpine, Calif 110

San Vicente Creek at Foster, Calif 113

Miscellaneous measurements 114

San Dieguito River basin 116

General features 116

Gaging-station records 116

Santa Ysabel Creek near Santa Ysabel, Calif 116

Santa Ysabel Creek near Mesa Grande, Calif 118


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San Dieguito River basin Continued.

Gaging-station records Continued. Page*

Santa Ysabel Creek near Ramona, Calif 125

Santa Yaabel Creek near Escondido, Calif. 133

San Dieguito River at Bernardo, Calif 140

San Dieguito River near Bernardo, Calif 143

San Dieguito River near Del Mar, Calif 146

Black Canyon Creek near Mesa Grande, Calif. 148

Temescal Creek near Almond, Calif 151

East San Pasqual ditch near Escondido, Calif. 158

Guejito Creek near E^scondido, Calif 155

West San Pasqual ditch near Escondido^ Calif 157

Santa Maria Creek near Ramona, Calif 159

Miscellaneous measurements. 165

Escondido Creek bad n .-. 165

San Luis Rey River basin 165

General features 165

Gaging-station records 166

San Luis Rey River near Warner Springs, Calif 166

San Luis Rey River near Mesa Grande, Calif 170

San Luis Rey River at diversion flume, Calif 178

San Luis Rey River near Nellie, Calif 180

San Luis Rey River near Pala, Calif 182

San Luis Rey River at Pala, Calif 191

San Luis Rey River at Bonsall, Calif 192

San Luis Rey River near Bonsall, Calif 196

San Luis Rey River near Oceanside, Calif 199

San Luis Rey River at Oceanside^ Calif 201

Canada Verde Creek near Warner Springs, Calif 202

Agua Caliente Creek near Warner Springs, Calif 202

West Fork of San Luis Rey River near Warner Springs, Calif 203

Matagual Creek near Warner Springs, Calif 206

Carrizo Creek near Warner Springs, Calif 209

Susanna Creek near Warner Springs, Calif 212

Escondido Mutual Water Co. 's canal near Nellie, Calif 215

Rincon Indian Reservation ditch near Valley Center, Calif 226

Pala Indian Reservation canal at Pala, Calif : 226

San Luis Rey ditch near San Luis Rey, Calif 228

Miscellaneous measurements 229

Santa Margarita River basin 233

General features 233

Gaging-station records 233

Temecula Creek near Temecula, Calif 233

Miscellaneous measurements 234

Santa Ana River basin 235

General features 235

Gaging-station records 236

Santa Ana River near Mentone, Calif 236

Southern California Edison Co. 's canal and Greenspot pipe line near

Mentone, Calif 262

Mill Creek in canyon at head works of Crafton canal, Calif 280

Mill Creek at Forest Home, Calif 285

Highlands canal near Mentone, Calif 295

Redlands canal near Mentone, Calif 297

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Santa Ana River baflin Continued.

Gaging-station records Continued. Page.

Waterman Canyon Creek near San Bernardino, Calif 299

Devil Canyon Creek near San Bernardino, Calif 302

Lytle Creek at mouth of canyon near Rialto, Calif 304

Lytle Creek near San Bernardino, Calif 309

San Jacinto River near Elsinrae, Calif 318

Elsinore Lake at Elsinore, Calif 321

Temescal Creek near Elsinore, Calif. 324

Temeecal Creek near Rincon, Calif 326

San Antonio Creek near Claremont, Calif 327

San Antonio Creek near Upland, Calif 331

Mificellaneous measurements of San Antonio Oeek 342

Southern California Edison Co.'s canal near ( laremont, i.'alif 346

Chino Creek at Rincon 348

Cucamonga Creek ^ 349

Miscellaneous measurements 350

Water absorbed in sands and gravel 360

Return watersin San Bemioxiino County 361

San Gabriel River basin 371

General features 371

Gaging-station records 373

San Gabriel River above Pish Fork, near Azusa. Calif 373

San Gabriel River at headworks near Azusa, C'alif 374

San Gabriel River near Azusa. Calif 375

Fish Fork of San Gabriel River near Azusa, Calif 402

Iron Fork of San Gabriel River near Azusa, Calif V. . . 403

Coldwater Creek above mouth, Calif 404

West Fork of San Gabriel River above North Fork, Calif 405

West and North branches of North Fork of San Gabriel River at weir,

Calif 405

Southern California Edison Co. 's canal near Azusa, Calif 406

Tunnel diversion near Azusa. Calif 420

Rogers Creek near Azusa, Calif 421

San Dimas Creek near San Dimas, Calif 422

Fish Creek near Duarte, Calif 425

Sawpit Creek near Monrovia, Calif 427

Monrovia pipe line near Monrovia, Calif 430

Miscellaneous measurements 433

Water absorbed in sands and gravel 438

Los Angeles River basin 439

General features 439

Records of measurement 440

Los Angeles River at the Narrows, Calif 440

Diversions from Los Angeles River 448

Pacoima Creek near San Fernando, Calif 449

Tujunga Creek near Sunland, Calif 452

Haines Creek near Tujunga, Calif 465

Arroyo Seco near Pasadena, Calif 457

Eaton Creek near Pasadena, Calif 464

Santa Anita Creek near Sierra Madre, Calif 466

LittleSanta Anita Creek near Sierra Madra, Calif 468

Miscellaneous measurements 471

Water absorbed in sands and gravel 476

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BdMibu Creek basin 476

General features , 476

Gaging-station records 476

Malibu Creek near Calabasas, Calif 476

Triunfo Creek near Calabasas, Calif 480

Santa Clara River basin 482

General features .-. . . 482

Gaging-station records 483

Santa Clara River at Fillmore, Calif 483

Pirn Creek near Pirn, Calif 484

Sespe Creek near Sespe, Calif 487

Seepe Creek at Sespe, Calif 490

Santa Paula Creek near Santa Paula, Calif 492

Miscellaneous measurements 496

Ventura River basin 498

General features 498

Gaging-station records 498

Ventura River near Nordhoff, Calif 498

Ventura River near Ventura, Calif 601

Miscellaneous measurements 504

Streamflow from minor drainage basins in Santa Barbara County 605

Carpinteria Creek basin 505

Gobemador Creek near Carpinteria, Calif 505

Diversion from Gobemador Creek near Carpinteria, Calif 507

Mission tunnel near Santa Barbara, Calif 508

San Roqui Creek 508

San Jose Creek near Goleta, Calif 509

Loma Abajo River 511

Gato Creek 511

Santa Ynez River basin 512

General features 512

Gaging-station records 513

Santa Ynez River near Santa Barbara, Calif 513

Santa Ynez River near Lompoc, Calif 527

Mono Creek near Santa Barbara, Calif 536

Miscellaneous measurements 538

Miscellaneous measurements of streams in Santa Barbara County 539

Santa Maria River basin 540

General features 540

Gaging-station records 541

Santa Maria River near Santa Maria, Calif 541

Miscellaneous measurements 542

Floods 543

Records of floods 543

Flood of 1914 544

Flood of 1891 549

Index 551

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Pag*. Plate I. Map of a part of southern California, showing location of gaging

stations in Pacific slope drainage basinB In pocket.

II. Map of a part of southern California, showing location of gaging

stations in Pacific slope drainage basins In pocket.

III. A, Price currentmeters;£, Typical gaging station 14

IV. Water-stage recorders: A^ Stevens continuous; £, Gurley printing;

C, Friez 15

V. Concrete controls: A, San Luis Rey River near Pala, Calif.; B, Sweetwater River near Dehesa, Calif.; C, Santa Ysabel Creek

near Ramona, Calif 16

\I. Af Control of concrete and solid rock on Santa Ysabel Creek near Mesa Grande, Calif.; B, Concrete control on Sweetwater River near Descanso, Calif.; C, Wading measurement on San Gabriel River near Azusa, Calif 17

VII. Ay Sweetwater dam, September 17, 1918; B, Lake Hodges dam, San

Dieguito River 44

VIII. Murray dam, March 9, 1918; A^ Upstream side; B, Downstream side. . . 45 IX. Gaging stations: A, San Diego River at diverting dam, near Lakeside,

Calif.; B, Cuyamaca Water Co.'s flume at diverting dam, near Lakeside, Calif.; C, Cuyamaca Water Co.'s flume at Los Coches

Creek, near Lakeside, Calif 60

X. Gaging stations: A^ Santa Maria Creek near Ramona, Calif.; B, Santa Ana River near Men tone, Calif., showing vertical staff gage;

C, Tunnel diversion near Azusa, Calif., showing weir 61

XI. Well and house for water-stage recorders: A, Santa Ana River near Mentone, Calif.; B, Rogers Creek near Azusa, Calif.; C, Santa Anita Creek near Sierra Madre, Calif 236

XII. Concrete well and house for water-stage recorders: J., San Dimas Creek near San Dimas, Calif.; B, C, San Gabriel River near Azusa, Calif 237

XIIL Concrete well and house for water-stage recorders: A, Rogers Creek near Azusa, Calif. ; J5, Fish Creek near Duarte, Calif. ; C, Little Santa Anita Creek near Sierra Madre, Calif 422

XIV. Af Concrete well and shelter on Sawpit Creek near Monrovia, Calif.; B, Double concrete-boulder control on Eaton Creek near Pasa- dena, Calif.; C, Concrete well, house, and control on Arroyo Seco

near Pasadena, Calif 423

XV. Concrete well, house, and control: -4, Pacoima Creek near San Fernando, Calif.; J5, Tujunga Creek, near Sunland, Calif.; C, Haines Creek near Tujunga, Calif 450

XVI. A, Waterman Canyon Creek near San Bernardino, Calif., showing gravel and sand deposited by first high water after forest fire; Bf Foundation for Gibraltar dam, on Santa Ynez River near Santa Barbara, Calif. ; C, Cable section on Santa Ynez River near Santa

Barbara, Calif 451

XVII. Views after flood of 1914: A, Arroyo Seco near Los Angeles, Calif.; B, Ventura River near Ventura, Calif.; C, Santa Paula Creek

near Santa Paula, Calif 492

XYIII. Af San Diego River at Mission dam, near Santee, Calif., after flood of 1916; B, Gaging station on Cottonwood Creek near Dulzura,

Calif. ; C, Dulzura conduit at Barrett dam site, Calif 493


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By H. D. McGlashan.


Since 1 848, when repairs to a mill race near Georgetown, EJldorado County, led to the discovery of gold in California, the industrial development of the State has been closely linked with the develop- ment and utilization of its water resoiu-ces. Information concerning the quantity of water carried by the streams has been and will con- tinue to be essential to the development of these resoiu'ces, for the fundamental importance of stream-flow data is now so thoroughly recognized that it is almost impossible to finance any project de- pending on stream flow without presenting authentic records of flow covering a period of years.

On account of the pronounced differences in natural conditions especially as regards topography, geologic formations, forests, and climate— stream-measurement work in southern California presents many problems not common to similar work in the central and northern parts of the State.

The rock formations have been badly shattered by extensive fault- ing and thus furnish great quantities of boulders. The soil is very porous and is easily eroded. The main drainage channels are com- paratively short and in the mountainous sections have very steep slopes, so that during periods of high run-off the streams have excessive velocities. An interesting example is furnished by San Gabriel River, whose source is about 10,000 feet above sea level and whose mouth is approximately 50 miles distant in an air line. The maximum ob- served velocity for the measurement of San Gabriel River near Azusa on January 19, 1916, was 30 feet per second, and the mean velocity for the measiu'ement was 22.2 feet. These high velocities produce marked changes in cross sections of channels at gaging stations.

The stream channels, even in the canyons, are imstable, and they scour and fill with unfailing regularity whenever there is a sudden change in run-off. The stream beds in the canyons are composed mainly of gravel and boulders, the size of the material depending on the slope of the channel. At the mouths of the canyons there are well-defined debris cones, where the larger part of the rolling debris is deposited. The stream channels from the debris cones to the sea


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are cut through fine gravels or soils of sandy loam and are subject to alluvial and erosional stream action which results in continual shifting and changing within the channel and, during floods, even in shifting of the channels themselves.

Except at the highest elevations the vegetation consists chiefly of brush interspersed with the usual growth f oimd in similar arid r^ons. During the long dry seasons lightning and careless campers are the cause of many fires, which are, however, usually held in control by the efficient fire patrol of the United States Forest Service. Occa- sionally a fire gets beyond immediate control and bums over a small drainage basin. As a result the first heavy rainfall washes into the channels of the small streams much sand and fine gravel, at times filling them to the level of their banks with this material, which is gradually eroded after the flood stage has passed. (See PI. XVI, Af p. 451.)

In this region there are two seasons the rainy and the dry. The rainy season usually covers less than half the year, and the greater part of the rainfall occurs during the heavy storms that affect com- paratively small areas. As a rule flood stages last only for short periods. *


The measurement of the flow of streams in California was begun by the California State engineer in 1878, in accordance with a law requiring him **to investigate the problems of the irrigation of the plains, the condition and capacity of the great drainage lines of the State, and the improvement of the navigation of rivers." The work was restricted to a few localities in the Sacramento and San Joaquin basins, the principal station being on the Sacramento at Collinsville.

The State engineer's office was discontinued in 1884, and practi- cally no further stream studies were made until 1894, when engineers of the United States Geological Smrvey were sent into California and made a few measiu'ements of streams in the semiarid parts of the State. The following year the Survey established a station on Sac- ramento River at Red Bluff and since that time it has gradually ex- tended the work imtil it now has available records of flow at about 500 stations on California streams. Many records have also been collected by private persons. The first stations were located only on streams whose waters were to be used for irrigation, but records are now available on streams adapted to all uses, including navigation, domestic water supply, and power.

The investigations of the quantity of water in the streams have been supplemented by studies of the climatic and other conditions

1 R«GOids of predpitation for 106 stations in San Diego County, oorering periods varying flrom 1 year to 65 years, are presented in connection with a discussion of the ground waters of the western part of the county ^^ \. J. Ellis and C. H. Lee, published by the U. S. Geological Survey as Water-Supply Paper 44A

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affecdng stream flow, and a mass of valuable information has thus been collected affording data for all phases of hydraulic work.

The stream-flow records collected by the Survey and cooperating ^parties up to the end of June, 1912, were assembled and published in 1012 and 1913 as three water-supply papers bearing titles as follows:

298. Water reeources of Oalifoniia, Part I, Stream measurements in Sacramento

River basin.

299. Water resources of California, Part II, Stream measurements in San Joaquin

River basin.

300. Water resources of OaHfomia, Part III, Stream measurements in Great Basin

and Pacific coast river basins.

The records for the Pacific slope of southern CaUfornia, including those published in Water-Supply Paper 300 and records collected up to September 30, 1918, are presented in this report. The area covered and the location of the gaging stations maintained are shown on the topographic maps forming Plates I and II (in pocket).


Cooperation in stream measurements between the United States (Geological Survey and State of California was first provided for by the State legislature in an act approved March 16, 1903. This act covered the period from July 3, 1903, to June 30, 1905, and was in sub- stance as follows :

The State Board of Examiners are hereby empowered to enter into contracts with the Director of the United States Geological Survey for the purpose of making topo- graphic mape to the extent of twenty thousand dollars; also for the purpose of gaging streams; surveying reservoir sites and canal locations, for the conservation and utili- zation of the flood and storm waters of the State, to the extent of fifteen thousand dollars. * *

Similar acts, approved March 20, 1905, and March 11, 1907, provided for the continuation of the work until June 30, 1909, with an increased biennial appropriation of $30,000 for topography and $20,000 for hydrography. The act of March 11, 1907, named the Department of Engineering of the State of California as the cooperat- ing party.

An act placing cooperation between the State of California and the United States Geological Survey on a permanent basis was approved April 22, 1909, and provided as follows:

The Department of Engineering is hereby empowered to carry on topographic staveys and investigations into matters pertaining to the water resources of the State along the lines of hydrography, hydro-economics and the use and distribution of water for agricultural purposes, and to that end, where possible and to the beet interest of the State, shall enter into contracts for cooperation with the different departments of the Federal Government in such amounts as may be an equitable and necessary division of the work. The State engineer, with the consent of the governor, may maintain and continue such investigations where there is available money not covered by

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cooperation contract. For the permanent maintenance of said surveys and investiga- tions there is hereby continuously appropriated out of the general fund of the State treasury for each and every fiscal year, commencing with the date upon which thiis act becomes effective, the sum of thirty thousand dollars.

Of this sum $9,000 is allotted annually to investigations of water resources.

In 1911 the California Legislature provided for a State Board of (Control (Water Powers) to pass on matters pertaining to the appro- priation of water for power development, and for a Conservation Com- mission to investigate and collect information concerning forestry, water, and other natural resources and their use, for the purpose of revising the laws of the State relating thereto. The legislature of 1912 transferred the duties of the State Board of Control (Water Powers) to the State Water Commission.

The members of the Conservation Commission were George C. Par- dee, chairman; Francis Cuttle, and J. P. Baumgarten; of the State Water Commission, Hiram W. Johnson, governor; Charles D. Marx, chairman; S. C. Graham; Harold T. Power; and W. F. McQure, State engineer. Louis R. Glavis was appointed secretary of both com- missions and was later succeeded by Josephine A. Patten. These commissions made substantial appropriations for stream-gaging work in cooperation with the Geological Survey, and as a result a large number of new river-measurement stations were established and old stations were improved.

In the present work the State of California is represented by the Department of Engineering, State of California, W. F. McClure, State engineer, and the State Water Commission. The members of this commission are William D. Stephens, governor (ex officio); W. F. McClure, State engineer (ex officio) ; A. E. Chandler, president; W. A. Johnstone; and Irving Martin. Josephine A. Patten is secretary.

The United States Forest Service, United States Weather Bureau, United States Indian Office, Los Angeles County, the cities of San Diego and Santa Barbara, the Sweetwater Water Co., the CHiyamaca Water Co., and the Voloan Land & Water Co. have also cooperated, and assistance has been rendered and many complete records of stream flow fiunished by other companies and private persons to whom credit is given in connection with the published data.

The earliest stream-gaging work in the State, beginning in 1878, was carried on imder the direction of William Ham. Hall, State engi- neer, by A. Boschke and other assistant engineers, among whom was C. E. Grunsky, who continued in charge of office computation and frequently acted as hydrographer until the State Engineer's Depart- ment was abolished. Work by the United States Geological Survey was begun in 1894, imder the direction of F. H. NeweU, chief hydrog- rapher, by Arthur P. Davis, and Joseph B. Lippincott. On the establishment of the United States Reclamation Service in 1902, Mr.

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lippincott beoame supervising engineer for California, and the field work was continued under his direction by William B. Qapp and Samuel G. Bennett, until the separation of the Reclamation Service from the Geological Survey in 1906, when Mr. Clapp became district engineer. On Mr. Qapp's death in December, 191 1, H. D. McGlashan was appointed district engineer.


The volume of water flowing in a stream the ** run-off*' or ** dis- charge'*— is expressed in various terms, each of which has become associated with a certain class of work. These terms may be divided into two groups (1) those that represent a rate of flow, as second- feet, gallons per minute, miner's inches, and discharge in second-feet per square mile, and (2) those that represent the actual quantity water, as run-off in depth in inches, acre-feet, and millions of cubic feet. The principal terms used in this report are second-feet, second- feet per square mile, run-off in inches, and acre-feet. They may be defined as follows:

** Second-feet" is an abbreviation for **cubic feet per second." A second-foot is the rate of discharge of water flowing in a channel of rectangular cross section 1 foot wide and 1 foot deep at an average velocity of 1 foot per second. It is generally used as a fimdamental imit from which others are computed by the use of the factors given in the tables of convenient equivalents (p. 18).

** Second-feet per square mile" is the average number of cubic feet of water flowing per second from each square mile of area drained, on the assumption that the run-off is distributed imiformly both as regards time and area.

** Run-off (depth in inches)" is the depth to which an area would be covered if all the water flowing from it in a given period were uniformly distributed on the surface. It is used for comparing run- off with rainfall, which is usually expressed in depth in inches.

An * ^acre-foot," equivalent to 43,560 cubic feet, is the quantity required to cover an acre to the depth of 1 foot. The term is com- monly used in connection with storage.

^'Miner's inch" represents a rate of flow and varies in different States, as noted in the table of convenient equivalents (p. 19). In California it was legalized by an act approved March 23, 1901, as one-fortieth of a second-foot. Prior to the passage of this act the common usage was one-fiftieth of a second-foot. The act reads as follows:

Section 1. The standard miner's inch of water shall be equivalent or equal to IJ cubic feet of water per minute, measured through any aperture or orifice.

Sec. 2. All acts or parts of acts inconsistent with the provisions of this act are hereby repealed.

Sec. 3. This act shall be in effect and force sixty days ffom and after its passage.

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One-fiftieth of a second-foot is still generally used in southern California.

The following t^ms not in common use are here defined:

'^Stage-discharge relation/' an abbreviation for the term ^'relation of gage height to discharge.

' 'Control/' a term used to designate the natural section or stretch of the channel, or artificial structure below the gage that determines the stage-discharge relation at the gage. It should be noted that the control may not be the same section or sections at all stages. (See Pis. V and VI.)

The ''point of zero flow*' for a gaging station is that point on the gage the gage height at which water ceases to flow over control.


The data presented in this report cover the climatic or water year beginning October 1 and ending September 30. At the 1st of Jan- uary in most parts of the United States much of the precipitation in the preceding three months is stored as groimd water, in the form of snow, or in ponds, lakes, and swamps, and this stored water passes off in the streams during the spring break-up ; at the end of Septem- ber, on the other hand, the only stored water available for run-off is possibly a small quantity in the ground; therefore the run-off for a year beginning October 1 is practically all derived from precipitation in that year.

The base data collected at gajging stations (PI. HI, B) consist of records of stage, measurements of discharge, and general information used to supplement the gage heights and discharge measurements in determining the daily flow. The records of stage are obtained either from direct readings on a staff gage or from a water-stage recorder (PI. IV) that gives a continuous record of the fluctuations. Measure- ments of discharge are made with a current meter which is operated from a bridge, a car suspended on a cable, or by wading (PL VI, C), the method adopted depending on the conditions at the station. The general methods are outlined in standard textbooks on the measiu-e- ment of river discharge.

From the discharge measurements rating tables are prepared that give the discharge for any stage, and these rating tables, when applied to the gage heights, give the daily discharge from which the monthly and yearly mean discharge is determined.

The data presented for each gaging station in the area covered by this report comprise a description of the station, a table giving results of discharge measurements, a table showing the daily discharge of the stream, and a table of monthly and yearly discharge and nm-off.

If the base data are insufficient to determine the daily discharge, tables giving daily gage heights and results of discharge meaaur^- ments are published.

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The description of the station gives, in addition to statements r^arding location and equipment, information in regard to any con- ditions that may affect the constancy of the stage-discharge relation, covering such subjects as the shifting of control, and the cause and effect of backwater; it gives also information as to diversions that decrease the flow at the gage, artificial regulation, approximate ele- vation above sea level, maximum and minimum recorded stages, and the accuracy of the records.

The table of daily discharge gives the discharge in second-feet corresponding to the mean of the gage heights recorded each day. At stations on streams subject to sudden or rapid diurnal fluctuation the discharge obtained from the rating table and the mean daily gage height may not be the true mean discharge for the day. When such stations are equipped with water-stage recorders, the true mean daily discharge may be obtained by computing the mean daily gage height and applying it to the rating table, by averapng quantities of dis- charge for regular intervals during the day, or by means of a dis- charge integrator an instnmient operating on the principle of the planimeter and containing as an essential element the rating curve of the station.

In the table of monthly discharge the column headed '* Maximum" gives the mean flow for the day when the mean gage height was highest. As the gage height is the mean for the day it does not in- dicate correctly the stage when the water surface was at crest height and the corresponding discharge was consequently larger than that given in the maximum column. Likewise, in the column headed ''Minimum," the quantity given is the mean flow for the day when the mean gage height was lowest. The column headed *^Mean" is the average flow in cubic feet for each second during the month. Computations recorded in the remaining columns are based on this average flow.


Natural as well as artificial conditions in southern California are very unfavorable for accurate stream gaging. At practically all points where gaging stations have been maintained the stage-dis- charge relation imder natural conditions was continually changing. In establishing a gaging station a section of channel as favorable as possible is selected. On many streams the choice is confined to a short stretch on accoimt of the intensive developments already made for power and irrigation.

Artijicial controls. In 1912 the first efforts were made to control the stage-discharge relation by artificial means in order to reduce the cost of maintenance of the stations and increase the accuracy of the records. The first experiment was made by driving short sec- Digitized byCjOOQlC


tions of wooden sheet piling across the channel immediately down- stream from the gage. A control constructed in this way was only temporary, as it was destroyed by the first high water, but it made conditions more stable during low water and indicated' that more permanent construction would be justified.

The next type of control built consisted of short sections of con- crete cut-oflf walls placed between large boulders, crossing the chan- nel in a more or less irregular manner. The sharp granite sand con- tinuously flowing over the crest eroded the concrete more rapidly than had been expected. Steel bands or angles, which were later embedded in the crest of the control, made this type of construc- tion fairly successful. The top of a short section of the control near the bank was left a few tenths of a foot lower than the other sections in order to direct the low-water flow past the gage. (See PI. V, -4.) On* several streams where there were no large boulders in the cross section to anchor the cut-oflf waUs, a concrete weir has been built with a rectangular notch to carry the low-watw discharge. (See PL V, C.) Some of these controls have been protected from gravel and boulders by bolting planks to the upstream or top face of the concrete. (See PI. XII, A and PI. XIV, C.)

Further study and experience indicated that certain changes in design were desirable. It was reaUzed that an artificial control should conform as closely as practicable to the natural cross section, so as not to disturb the stream and create new and artificial condi- tions which nature would immediately set about to destroy. This led to a plan for a control projecting but a short distance above the channel and having a concave profile about the same as that of the bed. It eliminated the sharp break in the crest due to the notch for low-water flow and made the stage-discharge relation always sensi- tive to slight changes in discharge. (See PL VI, B.) These controls were usually built of granite boulders of various sizes, bound together with concrete and placed so as to give a triangular cross section with a fairly sharp crest. The use of boulders obtained from the stream bed resulted in greater durabiUty and a sUght saving in cost over concrete.

Controls built as described above materially improve the per- manence of the stage-discharge relation and make possible the development of rating curves covering periods in which changes in stage are inconsiderable. There is a tendency for sand and gravel to collect immediately above and on each bank. This tendency is especially strong during seasons of comparatively low run-off. It is important that the gage or low-water section be placed close to the upstream side of the control.

Experiments are now being made with a double control that is, two controls separated by a short stretch of channel. It appears that

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A, San Luis Rey River uear Pola, Calif.; B, Sweetwater River near Dehesa, Calif.; C Santa Ysabel

Creek near Ramoua, Calif. ^

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the upper control accelerates the water, so that it transports the gravel and sand over the lower control, and leaves a well-defined pool in which the gage is placed. (See PL XIV, B.)

Water-stage recorders, On account of the improvement resulting from the construction of artificial controls it has been considered advisable to collect gage-height records at important stations with greater acciu^cy by installing water-stage recorders (see PI. IV) that give a continuous record of stage. A record of this type is especially valuable during floods, as it not only indicates the time and duration of the maximum stage but furnishes a complete record from which the mean daily discharge may be acciu^tely computed.

On account of conditions in the channels previously explained, water-stage recorders could not be installed in the usual manner as shown in Plate III, B, The intake pipe connecting the well with the stream would fill up with sand and fine gravel diuing the first rise and thus seal the well. Intake pipes have been eliminated by building the well and shelter flush with or projecting into the stream. A number of small openings at various elevations are left in the stream face of the well and may be cleaned out from the inside as required. In most places the well and shelter must be built of reinforced concrete, in order to withstand floods. A number of types of wells and shelters have been used in southern California (see Pis. XI-XV). The latest design is shown in Plate XI, -4, and Plate XII, B and C,


The accuracy of stream-flow data depends primarily (1) on the permanence of the stage-discharge relation and (2) on the acciu^cy of observation of stage, measurements of flow, and interpretation of records.

A paragraph in the description of the station or footnotes added to the tables gives information regarding the (1) permanence of the stage-discharge relation, (2) precision with which the discharge rating curve is defined, (3) refinement of gage readings, (4) frequency of gage readings, and (5) methods of applying daily gage heights to the rating table to obtain the daily discharge.*

For the rating tables ** well defined '' indicates, in general, that the rating is probably accurate within 5 per cent; * fairly well defined,'* within 10 per cent; '* poorly defined,'' within 15 to 25 per cent. These notes are very general and are based on the plotting of the individual measurements with reference to the mean rating curve.

The monthly means for any station may represent with high accu- racy the quantity of water flowing past the gage, but the figures showing