Main content area

Development of a hydrological model for simulation of runoff from catchments unbounded by ridge lines

Vema, Vamsikrishna, Sudheer, K.P., Chaubey, I.
Journal of hydrology 2017 v.551 pp. 423-439
administrative area, hydrograph, hydrologic models, model validation, runoff, streams, water balance, water conservation, watersheds, Texas
Watershed hydrological models are effective tools for simulating the hydrological processes in the watershed. Although there are a plethora of hydrological models, none of them can be directly applied to make water conservation decisions in irregularly bounded areas that do not confirm to topographically defined ridge lines. This study proposes a novel hydrological model that can be directly applied to any catchment, with or without ridge line boundaries. The model is based on the water balance concept, and a linear function concept to approximate the cross-boundary flow from upstream areas to the administrative catchment under consideration. The developed model is tested in 2 watersheds – Riesel Experimental Watershed and a sub-basin of Cedar Creek Watershed in Texas, USA. Hypothetical administrative catchments that did not confirm to the location of ridge lines were considered for verifying the efficacy of the model for hydrologic simulations. The linear function concept used to account the cross boundary flow was based on the hypothesis that the flow coming from outside the boundary to administrative area was proportional to the flow generated in the boundary grid cell. The model performance was satisfactory with an NSE and r2 of ≥0.80 and a PBIAS of <25 in all the cases. The simulated hydrographs for the administrative catchments of the watersheds were in good agreement with the observed hydrographs, indicating a satisfactory performance of the model in the administratively bounded areas.