Simple Research Study – Idaho’s Rivers

Water Height Snake River at Blackfoot

Introduction

Background

Idaho has a many beautiful rivers passing through the land. The residents of Idaho may have noticed that the rivers seems to be higher than normal during the summer months in 2017. The purpose of this study is to understand the river conditions during the month of July.

Hypothesis

The water will flow slower and lower in the end of July than in the end of June.

Data

The United States government generously provides open, free data to understand the water conditions in Idaho. This data can be found on their website, usgs.gov, but more specifically in their water services sub-domain. The data collected was between the dates of June 26, 2017 – July 26, 2017.

Due to the large dataset size, I hosted this dataset on Data.World under my profile.

Results

Snake River at Blackfoot, Idaho

For the first initial analysis, I pulled river data at the Blackfoot, Idaho snake river sensor. Since this is public data, I can place a pin at exactly where the sensor is.

Blackfoot Snake River Sensor

Understanding this location, we can now look at two main statistics.

  1. Water flow
  2. Water height

Water Flow

Water flow is measured by cubic feet per second (ft3/s) passing this sensor. From the graph below, we can see the water flow for the river at that sensor. The maximum value is 15,100 and the minimum value is 3,070. How do we interpret this data? First we need to understand the rate of change. Since the max happens to be the first value and the minimum happens to be the last value, we can use the following formula: ((current – previous) / previous) = -0.7966887. In other words, the Snake River by Blackfoot July 26th has slowed down 80% since June 26th.

Water flow snake river at blackfoot

Water Height

Water height is measured in feet from the bottom to the top of the water. From the graph below, which looks remarkably similar to the water flow graph from above, we can learn that the snake river by Blackfoot, Idaho has dropped 4 feet between June 26th and July 26th.

Water Height Snake River at Blackfoot

Correlation Between Water Flow and Water Height

Since doing this study, it was interesting to see how similar both the water flow and the water height are. The correlation coefficient between the water flow and the water height is 0.9986618, or in other words, then the river rises, the water will flow faster and when the water lowers, the water will flow slower.

Fall River near Ashton, Idaho

The sensor for the fall river near Ashton, Idaho is located at the point on the map below:

Fall River Near Ashton Sensor

Similar to the Snake River found above, we are going to analyze two main statistics.

  1. Water flow
  2. Water height

Water Flow

Using the same definition as outlined above, water flow is measured by cubic feet per second (ft3/s) passing this sensor. As seen in the graph, the water levels doesn’t follow the same smooth decline as the snake river near Blackfoot Idaho. The speed of the river in July 26th has declined 64% since June 26th.

Water Flow Fall River Near Ashton

Water Height

Using the same definition as outline above, water height is measured in feet from the bottom to the top of the water. From the graph below, we can see that the water levels have dropped 1.5 feet in July 26th since June 26th.

Water Height Fall River Near Ashton

Correlation Between Water Flow and Water Height

Using the same correlation definition as defined above, the correlation between the water flow and the water height in the Fall River near Ashton, Idaho is 0.999754, or in other words, then the river rises, the water will flow faster and when the water lowers, the water will flow slower.

Conclusion

  • The Snake River by Blackfoot, Idaho July 26th has slowed down 80% since June 26th
  • The Snake River by Blackfoot, Idaho has dropped 4 feet between June 26th and July 26th
  • When the river rises, the water will flow faster and when the water lowers, the water will flow slower
  • The speed of the Fall River near Ashton, Idaho in July 26th has declined 64% since June 26th
  • The water levels of the Fall River near Ashton, Idaho have dropped 1.5 feet in July 26th since June 26th

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