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Surface water hydrology


CHAPTER FIVE RUN OFF Definition: It is the portion of precipitation excess of evapotranspiration demand. Common unit being m3/s or cumec. It may also be expressed mm/day, mm/month or mm/year. This is particularly useful unit for comparing runoff rate or runoff volume with precipitation

Terms used Surface run off -part of the total runoff which travels over the ground surface to reach a stream channel and then through the channel to reach the basin outlet. It is the combination of the overland flow and the channel precipitation. Subsurface Runoff -Water which infiltrates the soil surface and then moves laterally through the upper soil horizons towards the stream channels above the main groundwater table is known as the interflow. It is also known as subsurface runoff, subsurface stream flow, storm seepage, and secondary base flow Ground Water Runoff -The infiltrated water which percolates deeply becomes GW and when the GW table rises and intersects the stream channels of the basin it discharges into stream as the Ground Water Runoff. Direct runoff-is that part of RO which enters the stream promptly and is equal to the sum of surface RO and rapid interflow. Base flow-is defined as the sustained or fair-weathered RO and it is composed of GW RO and delayed interflow.

Factors affecting run off

They are broadly classified in to two: Climatic factors Physiographic factors The climatic factors include Intensity of rainfall Duration of rainfall Antecedent precipitation The physiographic factors are Land use Type of soil Slope

Surface water hydrology


Other climatic factors that affect evapotranspiration

Intensity of rainfall, Ip -RO Ip because an intense RF occurs in a short time and the evp. and infiltration losses are relatively small. -For Ip exceeding the infiltration capacity, the RO increases with increase in intensity. Duration of rainfall -If RF occurs over a long period, the runoff is large because the RO is proportional to the total RF. -Moreover, the infiltration capacity decreases with time. Antecedent precipitation Soil moisture at the time of occurrence of storm would greatly influence the RO peak resulting from that storm. Even very intense rains falling in late summer, when the soil moisture is at its least, rarely produce high discharges because most of the water enters the soil moisture under the existing high infiltration capacity rates and is held there. Physiographic factors Land use The manner in which a land is being used is called land use. Rain over a thick forest or vegetated area produces less RO because of large interception, transpiration and infiltration losses. In urban areas, the losses are less and the RO is more because of paved areas (no infiltration). In non forested areas the infiltration, interception and evaporation and transpiration losses are less and therefore high RO rates are expected.

Type of soil The type of soil has direct influence on its infiltration capacity rate and consequently it also affects the runoff.

Surface water hydrology


Light textured soils (sandy soils) consist of coarser soil particles and have large pore spaces which results in rapid absorption of water and less runoff. Heavy textured soil (clay soils) has fine soil particles and small pore spaces which results in little absorption of water and huge runoff volume.

Slope The slope of the catchment area is an important factor as it decides the relative importance of infiltration, interflow and overland flow. A catchments having extensive flat area gives rise to low peaks and less runoff whereas a catchment with steep slope produces high peak flood.

Methods of runoff computation Determination of accurate runoff rate or volume from the watershed is a difficult task, because runoff is dependent upon several factors related to watershed and atmosphere, prediction of who is not so easy. However, some common runoff estimation methods are given below: A. Rational Method Among various types of empirical relations, rational formula is the most rational method of calculating peak discharge for small catchments. In this method, it is assumed that the maximum flood flow is produced by a certain rainfall which lasts for a time equal to or greater than the period of concentration time. This concentration time is the time required for the surface runoff from the remotest part of the catchments area to reach the basin outlet. When the storm continues beyond concentration time every part of the catchments would be contributing to the runoff at outlet and therefore it represents conditions of peak runoff. The runoff rate corresponding to this condition is given by:

Where Q is the peak runoff rate in m3/sec A is the area of the catchment in hectares I is the intensity of rainfall in mm/hr and C iS a runoff coefficient to account for the abstractions from the rainfall. Its values are assigned on the basis of land use and soil type (Tab. below). When the watershed has different features regarding land use and soil types, then weighted value of runoff coefficient is determined. For example: Let, if a watershed area is divided into five sub-parts on the basis of soil type and land use practice adopted, having the area a1, a2, a3, a4 and a5 and the value of runoff

Surface water hydrology


coefficient is C1, C2, C3, C4, and C5, respectively for the five sub-watersheds, Then the value of weighted runoff coefficient (C) is given by:

C1a1 C2 a2 C3a3 C4 a4 C5 a5 a1 a2 a3 a4 a5

Table: Values of C as a function of land use, topography and soil type for use in rational Method Soil Types Sandy loam Clay and silt loam 0.50 0.60 0.70 Tight clay 0.60 0.70 0.82

Land use and topography

Cultivated land I) Flat II) Rolling III) Hilling Pasture land I) Flat II) Rolling III) Hilling Forest land I) Flat II) Hilling Populated land I) Flat II) Rolling

0.30 0.4 0.52

0.10 0.16 0.22

0.30 0.36 0.42

0.40 0.55 0.60

0.10 0.30

0.30 0.50

0.40 0.60

0.40 0.50

0.55 0.65

0.65 0.80

Example: Compute the value of weighted runoff coefficient of watershed from the following data regarding watershed characteristics. Land use and topography Area (ha) Cultivated land Flat, sandy soil 100 Pasture land Rolling and sandy soil 30 Populated land flat,, sandy soil 75

Solution: using the weighted runoff coefficient formula Land use/ topography 1. Cultivated land + flat topography + sandy soil Area (ha) 100 C 0.30 C=c1a1+c2a2+c3a3 Computation

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2. Pasture land + rolling topography + sandy soil 3. Populated land + flat topography + sandy loam soil


0.16 0.40

a1+a2+a3 =0.32


Example: A culvert is proposed across stream drainage an area of 185 ha. The catchment has a slope of 0.004 and the length of travel for water is 1150 m. Estimate the 25-year discharge if the rainfall intensity is given by:

1000Tr 0.2 t 200.7

Where I is in mm/h, Tr is in years and t is in minutes. Assume a runoff coefficient of 0.35. Solution: L = 1150 m, S = 0.004

tc 0.01951150 0.004 37.2 min utes 0.2 1000 25 I 112.05mm/h 11.205cm/h 37.2 200.7

A = 185 ha = 1.85 km2, C = 0.35

Q 2.778 0.35 1.85 11 .205 20 .12 m3 / s

B. Empirical equation With a keen sense of observation in the region of their activity, many engineers of the past have developed empirical runoff estimation formulae. However, these are applicable only to the region in which they have developed. Empirical formulas can be classified in different ways depending upon the basis adopted. They can be considered under the following heads: Formulae that take area of the basin only into consideration Formulae that take one or more basin parameters apart from area and also rainfall characteristics into consideration

Surface water hydrology


These formulae are essentially rainfall-runoff relations with additional third or fourth parameters to account for climatic or catchment characteristics. Some of the important formulae are

Formulae based on Area of the basin There are several regression equations for predicting the runoff rate from the drainage basins. The form of equation is given as: Q = CA n where,Q = Peak flow for a given recurrence interval, (m3/s) n,C = are constants, known as regression constants A = Drainage area, (km2)

- Admasu's Formaula (1989):

Q 0.87 A
Seleshi (2001):


for Ethiopian ba sin s

Q 0.88 A


for Rift Valley region