• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 15
Presentation Time: 12:30 PM


FINAN, Katherine, Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221, TOWNSEND-SMALL, Amy, Department of Geology and Department of Geography, University of Cincinnati, 605 Geology-Physics Building, Cincinnati, OH 45221 and NASH, David, Department of Geology, Univ of Cincinnati, 345 College Court, Room 500, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0013,

Since the onset of widespread urbanization in the 1950s and 1960s, fresh water runoff has increased in southern California during the three driest months of the year: August, September and October. Analysis of discharge data from stream gauges with a minimum of forty years of record from urbanized and non-urbanized watersheds finds streams that were completely dry in the summer months prior to urbanization have subsequently become perennial. In addition, stream discharge in summer has also increased with increasing urban land cover. Land-cover data from the USDA is used to estimate whether agricultural, urban, or undisturbed land contributes most to increased freshwater runoff. Increased stream runoff in urbanized watersheds suggests over watering of landscaping which, if controlled, could provide appreciable water savings. Water waste in Southern California has serious ecological impacts and also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and energy expenditures. Understanding the dynamics of increased stream discharge from urbanized watersheds in Southern California helps promote public awareness and support for policies to reduce long-distance water importation.
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