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RECESS: A computer program for analysis of streamflow recession

This web site includes information about the use of the RECESS computer program for analyzing a streamflow record. The version at this site will read streamflow data in the format that is available from USGS web sites. This version is provided with a graphics application for viewing recession segments.

The RECESS program is used to determine the recession index and to define the master recession curve from analysis of streamflow records.

RECESS Downloads

  • 8/07/2013 Notice to users:
    We have received reports that recess.exe is being flagged as malware by some antivirus programs. To the best of our knowledge, this is a false-positive report for the original recess.exe file served from this web site. Please note that the USGS has no control over RECESS software distributed from non-USGS web sites; the only official USGS version of RECESS is the file served from this web page. If you have additional questions, please contact us at
  • Download RECESS version 2.0 software, documentation, and sample data sets, updated March 2012 (1.5MB EXE)
  • README file describing files included in EXE file

Background Literature

  • The User Guide 65KB PDF file, updated January 2007) does not include complete explanation of the computer program; the program user is referred to the following documentation:
    • Computer programs for describing the recession of groundwater discharge and for estimating mean ground-water recharge and discharge from streamflow records: USGS WRIR 98-4148.
  • The RECESS program was developed as part of a regional aquifer study. Results are published in this report, which includes description of master recession curves:
    • Rutledge, A.T. and Mesko, 1996, Estimated hydrologic characteristics of shallow aquifer systems in the Valley and Ridge, the Blue Ridge, and the Piedmont physiographic provinces based on analysis of streamflow recession and base flow: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1422-B, 58 p.
  • Obtaining streamflow data from a USGS web site.
  • USGS Groundwater and Surface-Water Interactions web site.

Point of Contact

Comments about this site can be sent to Paul Barlow.

Other USGS Groundwater Software

The USGS develops groundwater RSS, water-quality, surface-water, and other water-resources software for use by the USGS in fulfilling its mission. Most of this software is available online for download at no charge.

Disclaimers and Notices

Please refer to the USGS Software User Rights Notice for complete use, copyright, and distribution information. The USGS provides no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the correctness of the furnished software or the suitability for any purpose. The software has been tested, but as with any complex software, there could be undetected errors. Users who find errors are requested to report them to the USGS.

References to non-USGS products, trade names, and (or) services are provided for information purposes only and do not constitute endorsement or warranty, express or implied, by the USGS, U.S. Department of Interior, or U.S. Government, as to their suitability, content, usefulness, functioning, completeness, or accuracy.

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Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 17-Sep-2013 18:27:11 EDT