Chapter 2. Hydrology Literature Review for Ordinary
High Water Mark Delineation in the Arid Southwest
JOHN J. FIELD
Since the physical features representing Ordinary High Water (OHW) are
ostensibly the result of hydrometeorological events and the resulting flows in the
stream channel, a thorough examination of the hydrology and hydraulics of arid-
region rivers may yield useful insights and techniques for delineating the
Ordinary High Water Marks (OHWM) in the southwestern U.S.
This chapter provides a literature review of hydrology and hydraulics
research, with an emphasis on the southwestern U.S. and other arid regions of the
world, in order to:
Outline the dominant climatologically and physiographic controls on
rainfallrunoff processes in the Southwest;
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of hydrologic and hydraulics
models for describing arid-region fluvial processes; and
Identify the potential value of hydrology and hydraulic studies for
delineating the OHWM in the arid Southwest.
For the purposes of this chapter, the "Southwest" is broadly defined to
include all or portions of ten arid to semi-arid western states: Arizona, California,
Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, and Texas.