• Rainfall-Runoff Relationships for a Mountain Watershed in Southern Arizona

      Myhrman, M.; Cluff, C. B.; Putnam, F.; Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1978-04-15)
      A network of rain gauges and two recorder -equipped flumes were installed near the head of Cottonwood Canyon on Mt. Hopkins in the Santa Rita Mountains pursuant to a water development study for the Smithsonian Institution's Mt. Hopkins Astrophysical Observatory. The watershed is generally characterized by steep slopes, a dense evergreen woodland cover predominated by several species of oaks, isolated bedrock exposures and talus chutes. The watershed for the lower flume site comprises about 145 acres (58.60 ha) with an elevation range from about 6775 to 8580 feet (2,065 to 2,615 m). Rainfall-runoff measurements were made during the summer and fall of 1977. A runoff efficiency of 0.56 percent was calculated for the lower-flume watershed. However, since physical evidence of surface flow was found only in side drainages receiving runoff from culverts located along the Mt. Hopkins access road, a second calculation was made, using only the total area of contributing road surface as the watershed area. This yielded a runoff efficiency of 27.0 percent. The latter value, adjusted for infiltration on the slopes below the culverts, agrees well with measured efficiencies for compacted-earth water harvesting catchments. Based on the above, recommendations were made for developing a water supply system using the access road, modified to increase its effectiveness, as a water harvesting system and having two surface reservoirs for storage. A computer model was used to test the capability of the system to meet the projected water needs of the observatory.