Main content area

Flash flood susceptibility modeling using geo-morphometric and hydrological approaches in Panjkora Basin, Eastern Hindu Kush, Pakistan

Mahmood, Shakeel, Rahman, Atta-ur
Environmental earth sciences 2019 v.78 no.1 pp. 43
basins, digital elevation models, disaster preparedness, disasters, drainage, floods, geographic information systems, humans, hydrologic models, hydrometeorology, infrastructure, rivers, runoff, Pakistan
This main objective of this study is flash flood susceptibility modeling using geo-morphometric and hydrological approaches in Panjkora Basin, Eastern Hindu Kush, Pakistan. In the study region, flash flood is one of the horrific and recurrent hydro-meteorological disasters causing damages to human life, their properties, and infrastructure. Watershed modeling approach is implemented to delineate Panjkora Basin, its sub-basins, and extract drainage network by utilizing Advance Space borne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer Global Digital Elevation Model as an input data in geographic information system environment. A total of 30 sub-basins were delineated using threshold of 25 km². The geo-morphometric parameters of each sub-basin were computed by applying Hortonian, Schumm, and Strahler Geo-morphological laws. The value of each parameter was normalized and aggregated into geo-morphometric ranking number depicting the degree of flash flood susceptibility. Surface run-off depth of each sub-basin is estimated by applying Natural Resource Conservation Service Curve Number hydrological model. Both models outputs were integrated by implementing weighted overlay analysis technique and susceptibility map is obtained. The resultant map was analyzed and zonated into very high, high, moderate, low, and very low flash flood susceptibility zones. These zones were spread over an area of 1441 km² (27%), 1950 km² (36.5%), 1252 km² (23.4%), 604 km² (11.3%), and 98 km² (1.8%), respectively. Spatially, the very high susceptible zone is located in the upstream areas, characterized by snow covered peaks, steep gradient (> 30°), and high drainage density (> 1.7 km/km²), and geologically dominated by igneous and metamorphic lithological units. Analysis indicated that flash flood susceptibility is directly increases with increasing surface run-off and geo-morphometric ranking number. A new model is developed to geo-visualize the spatial pattern of flash flood susceptibility. Accuracy of the model is assessed using global positioning system-based primary data regarding past-flood damages and flood marks. The study results can facilitate Disaster Management Authorities and flood dealing line agencies to initiate location-specific flood-risk reduction strategies in highly susceptible areas of Panjkora Basin. Similarly, this methodological approach can be adapted for any highland river system.