Development of tools to estimate conveyance losses in the Truckee River, USA

David McGraw, G Pohll, Rina Schumer, Margaret Shanafield

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    A method to estimate stream conveyance losses, including stream bank seepage and evapotranspiration from riparian areas, was developed for the Truckee River in California and Nevada (USA). Aquifer diffusivity is the primary variable required to compute aquifer head and seepage. Head and seepage conceptual models developed in previous studies were calibrated using stream stage and aquifer head at five sites along the Truckee River. The equations for head require numerical convolution to solve. It was found that head is insensitive to diffusivity and a single value for diffusivity provides good results at all study sites. Also, because releases from storage are usually prescribed as a step increase in flow for a given period of time followed by a step decrease in flow, an analytic solution for volume of seepage can be used in place of numerical convolution. Under typical operating conditions, seepage volume represents a small fraction of the total reservoir releases. Uncertainty in seepage estimates can be reduced with increased accuracy in hydraulic conductivity. This work demonstrates a valuable technique to estimate conveyance losses under natural and managed stream flow.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)329-338
    Number of pages10
    JournalHydrogeology Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


    • Conveyance losses
    • Groundwater management
    • Groundwater/surface-water relations
    • USA


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