REGULATED VS. NATURAL FLOWS
An even more fundamental limitation is that peak forecasts describe regulated (actual or observed) in-stream flow well into the future, something difficult to do considering the number and changing nature of diversions in the Colorado River and Great Basin watersheds (note: supply forecasts deal with hypothetical "natural" flow - that which would have resulted in the absence of regulation). The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center routinely forecasts regulated streamflow, but only for several days into the future. Further into the future and the ability to forecast reservoir regulation becomes more limited.
DIFFERENT USES AND USERS
Peak flow forecasts are used for different purposes than water supply volume forecasts. Users of these forecasts would include river recreationists, flood control agencies, emergency service directors, wildlife managers and anyone interested in the combined effect of watershed yield and human regulation on the actual (observed) in-stream maximum mean daily flows at a site.
Please note that the flood flows contained in this document change from year to year due to such channel processes as deposition and scouring. Therefore, the flood flows that follow should only be applied to the current runoff season.