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Evaluation of four hydrological models for operational flood forecasting in a Canadian Prairie watershed

Unduche, Fisaha, Tolossa, Habtamu, Senbeta, Degefa, Zhu, Eric
Hydrological sciences journal 2018 v.63 no.8 pp. 1133-1149
calibration, drainage, hydrologic models, hydrometeorology, rivers, runoff, statistical analysis, watersheds, Canada
The complexities of the Prairie watersheds, including potholes, drainage interconnectivities, changing land-use patterns, dynamic watershed boundaries and hydro-meteorological factors, have made hydrological modelling on Prairie watersheds one of the most complex task for hydrologists and operational hydrological forecasters. In this study, four hydrological models (WATFLOOD, HBV-EC, HSPF and HEC-HMS) were developed, calibrated and tested for their efficiency and accuracy to be used as operational flood forecasting tools. The Upper Assiniboine River, which flows into the Shellmouth Reservoir, Canada, was selected for the analysis. The performance of the models was evaluated by the standard statistical methods: the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient, correlation coefficient, root mean squared error, mean absolute relative error and deviation of runoff volumes. The models were evaluated on their accuracy in simulating the observed runoff for calibration and verification periods (2005–2015 and 1994–2004, respectively) and also their use in operational forecasting of the 2016 and 2017 runoff.