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5.1 Different routes of run off Runoff means the draining or flowing off of precipitation from a catchemt area through a surface channel enters into a stream channel. It is convenient to visualize three main routes of travel; overland flow, interflow, and ground water flow.

Figure 5.1 Different routes of runoff.


Overland flow (or) surface runoff Excess rainfall moves over the land surface to reach small channels. This portion of runoff is called overland flow. (2) Interflow (or) subsurface runoff Rainfall that infiltrates the soil surface my move laterally through upper layers of soil and returns to the surface at some location is called interflow.

51 (3) Ground water flow Infiltrated water reaching saturated zone and moves through the soil as groundwater flow. It is also called base flow and dry weather flow. Runoff is classified into two categories as : (1) Direct runoff It means surface runoff, prompt interflow and rainfall on the channel surface. Base flow It means delayed interflow and groundwater flow.


5.2 Stream Types and Base flow Streams can be grouped into three types : (1) Perennial streams These streams always have flow. During dry weather, the flow of perennial streams is base flow, consisting of interflow and groundwater flow intercepted by the stream. Streams that feed from groundwater reservoirs are called effluent streams. Perennial streams and effluent streams are typical of humid regions. (2) Ephemeral streams These streams have flow only in direct response to effective precipitation. Ephemeral streams do not intercept ground-water flow and therefore have no base flow. Streams that feed water into groundwater reservoirs are called influent streams. Ephemeral and influent streams are typical of arid and semiarid regions. (3) Intermittent streams These streams have mixed characteristics, behaving as perennial at certain times of the year and ephemeral at other times. Depending on seasonal conditions, these streams may feed to or from the groundwater.

5.3 Run off characteristics of streams Flow characteristics of a stream depend upon (1) Rainfall characteristics - magnitude - intensity - distribution in time and space and its variability.

52 (2) Catchment characteristics - soil type - vegetation - slope - geology - shape and drainage density. (3) Climatic factors - location

5.4 Yield The total quantity of water that can be expected from a stream in a given period, such as a year is called the yield of the river. Methods for estimation of yield are : (1) correlation of runoff and rainfall (2) empirical equation and (3) watershed simulation Statistical Method Correlation of runoff and rainfall The equation of straight-line regression between Runoff (R) and Rainfall (P) is R=aP+b coefficient a= a and b are given by

N( PR) - ( P) ( R) N ( P 2 ) ( P) 2


R - aP N

in which N = number of observation sets of P and R. The most important measure of the degree of correlation between two variables is a quantity called the correlation coefficient (r). r=
N( PR) - ( P) ( R)

[N ( P

) ( P) 2

] [N ( R

) ( R) 2

Values of r lies between 0 to +1 as R can have positive correlation with P. A value of 0.6 < r < 1.0 indicates good correlation.

53 For large catchments, it is found advantageous to have an exponential relationship as, R = P m Ln R = m Ln P + Ln

Example 5.1 Given below are the monthly rainfall P and the corresponding runoff R values covering a period of 18 months for a catchment. Develop a correlation equation between R and P and find the correlation coefficient.

Month 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

P (cm) 5 35 40 30 15 10 5 31 36

R (cm) 0.5 10.0 13.8 8.2 3.1 3.2 0.1 12.0 16.0

Month 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

P (cm) 30 10 8 2 22 30 25 8 6

R (cm) 8.0 2.3 1.6 0.0 6.5 9.4 7.6 1.5 0.5

Solution P = 348 P2 = 9534 (P)2 = 121104

R = 104.3 R2 = 1040.51 (R)2 = 10878.49

N = 18 PR = 3083.3

For the correlation coefficient equation R = aP + b a= N( PR) ( P) ( R) = 0.38 N( P 2 ) ( P) 2

R a P = - 1.55 N


R = 0.38 P 1.55
N( PR) ( P) ( R)

correlation coefficient r =

[N ( P

) ( P) 2 N ( R 2 ) ( R) 2


r = 0.969 good correlation


5.5 Flow Mass Curve ( Rippl diagram ) The flow mass curve is a plot of the cumulative discharge volume against time plotted in chronological order. The ordinate of the mass curve, V at any time t is

V = t to Qdt = time at the beginning of the curve where t0 Q = discharge rate t = time at any instant The slope of the mass curve at any point represents. dv = Q = rate of flow at that instant dt

Figure 5.2

Assuming reservoir is full at the beginning of a dry period (i.e., when inflow is less than withdrawl). The storage required is S = max : of ( Vd Vs ) The storage S is obtained as the maximum difference in the ordinate between mass curves of supply and demand.

55 The minimum storage volume required by a reservoir is the largest of such S values over different dry periods.
Example 5.2 The following table gives the mean monthly flows in a river during 1981. Calculate the minimum storage required to maintain a demand rate of 40 m3 / sec.

Month Mean flow m3/s

J 60

F 45

M 35

A 25

M 15

J 22

J 50

A 80

S 105

O 90

N 80

D 70


Average duration of days in each month =

365 = 30.4 days 12

Demand = 40 m3 / sec x 30.4 x 2 = 2432 cumec day in 2 months period

56 Mean Flow (m3/s) 60 45 35 25 15 22 50 80 105 90 80 70 Monthly Flow Volume (Cumec day) 1860 1260 1085 750 465 660 1550 2480 3150 2790 2400 2170 Acc. Volume (Cumec day) 1860 3120 4205 4955 5420 6080 7630 10110 13260 16050 18450 20620

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D

required storage (minimum storage required)

S = 2100 cumec day ( from graph) = 2100 x 24 x 60 x 60 = 181.4 x 106 m3 = 181.4 Mm3

Calculation of storage without flow mass curve

Mean flow rate (m3/s) Flow volume (cumec-day) I Demand rate (m3/s) Demand volume (cumec-day) O


Difference s = I-O

Acc. Deficit (cumec-day)

Acc. Surplus (cumec-day)


60 45 35 25 15 22 50 80 105 90 80 70

1860 1260 1085 750 465 660 1550 2480 3150 2790 2400 2170

40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40

1240 1120 1240 1200 1240 1200 1240 1240 1200 1240 1200 1240

620 140 - 155 - 450 - 775 - 540 310 1240 1950 1550 1200 930

620 700 - 155 - 605 - 1380 - 1920 310 1550 3550 6050 7250 8180

reservoir storage volume should be at least 1920 cumec-day.



6.1 Introduction

Figure 6.1 The measured discharge of a stream is usually presented in the form of a hydrograph. In a hydrograph, the discharge is plotted as ordinate and the time as abscissa (Fig.6.1). The discharge is usually expressed in cumecs and the time in hours (or days or weeks, months or years). The hydrograph may have a single peak or multiple peaks, depending upon the nature of the storm and the characteristics of the catchment. The hydrograph portrays the runoff pattern from a catchment due to a storm. It represents the characteristics of the flow of a stream and gives a graphical representation of the variation in discharge arranged in a chronological order. A hydrograph is an extremely useful tool in the hands of a hydrologist. It can be used for the estimation of yield and the maximum discharge.


6.2 Factors Affecting Flood Hydrograph The factors that affect the shape of the hydrograph can be broadly grouped into climatic factors and physiographic factors. Each of these two groups contains a host of factors and the important ones are listed in Table 6.1. Generally, the climatic factors control the rising limb and the recession limb is independent of storm characteristics, being determined by catchment characteristics only. Many of the factors listed in Table 6.1 are interdependent. Further, their effects are very varied and complicated. As such only important effects are listed below in qualitative terms only. TABLE 6.1 Factors Affecting Flood Hydrograph Physiographic factors 1. Basin characteristics: (a) Shape (b) Size (c) Slope (d) Nature of the valley (e) Elevation (f) Drainage density 2. Infiltration characteristics: (a) land use and cover (b) soil type and geological conditions (c) lakes, swamps and other storage 3. Channel characteristics: cross-section, 3. Evapotranspiration roughness and storage capacity 2. Initial loss Climatic factors 1. Storm characteristics: precipitation, intensity, duration, magnitude and movement of storm.

Shape of the Basin The shape of the basin influences the time taken for water from the remote parts of the catchment to arrive at the outlet. Thus the occurrence of the peak and hence the shape of the hydrograph are affected by the basin shape. Fan-shaped, i.e. nearly semi-circular shaped


catchments give high peak and narrow hydrographs while elongated catchments give broad and low-peaked hydrographs. Size Small basins behave different from the large ones in terms of the relative importance of various phases of the runoff phenomenon. In small catchments the overland flow phase is predominant over the channel flow. Hence the land use and intensity of rainfall have important role on the peak flood. On large basins these effects are suppressed as the channel flow phase is more predominant. The peak discharge is found to vary as An where A is the catchment area and n is an exponent whose value is less than unity, being about 0.5. The time base of the hydrographs from larger basins will be larger than those of corresponding hydrographs from smaller basins. The duration of the surface runoff from the time of occurrence of the peak is proportional to Am , where m is an exponent less than unity and is of the order of magnitude of 0.2. Slope The slope of the main stream controls the velocity of flow in the channel. As the recession limb of the hydrograph represents depletion of storage, the stream channel slope will have a pronounced effect on this part of the hydrograph. Large stream slopes give rise to quicker depletion of storage and hence result in steeper recession limbs of hydrographs. This would obviously result in a smaller time base. The basin slope is important in small catchments where the overland flow is relatively more important. In such cases the steeper slope of the catchment results in larger peak discharges. Drainage Density The drainage density is defined as the ratio of the total channel length to the total drainage area. A large drainage density creates situation conducive for quick disposal of runoff down the channels. This fast response is reflected in a pronounced peaked discharge. In basins with smaller drainage densities, the overland flow is predominant and the resulting hydrograph is squat with a slowly rising limb.


Land Use Vegetation and forests increase the infiltration and storage capacities of the soils. Further, they cause considerable retardance to the overland flow. Thus the vegetal cover reduces the peak flow. This effect is usually very pronounced in small catchments of areas less than 150 km2 . Further, the effect of the vegetal cover is prominent in small storms. In general, for two catchments of equal area, other factors being identical, the peak discharge is higher for a catchment that has a lower density of forest cover. Of the various factors that control the peak discharge, probably the only factor that can be manipulated is land use and thus it represents the only practical means of exercising long-term natural control over the flood hydrograph of a catchment. Climatic Factors Among climatic factors the intensity, duration and direction of storm movement are the three important ones affecting the shape of a flood hydrograph. For a given duration, the peak and volume of the surface runoff are essentially proportional to the intensity of rainfall. This aspect is made use of in the unit hydrograph theory of estimating peak-flow hydrographs, as discussed in subsequent sections of this chapter. In vary small catchments, the slope of the hydrograph can also be affected by the intensity. The duration of storm of given intensity also has a direct proportional effect on the volume of runoff. The effect of duration is reflected in the rising limb and peak flow. Ideally, if a rainfall of given intensity i lasts sufficiently long enough, a state of equilibrium discharge proportional to iA is reached. If the storm moves from upstream of the catchment to the downstream end, there will be a quicker concentration of flow at the basin outlet. This results in a peaked hydrograph. Conversely, if the storm movement is up the catchment, the resulting hydrograph will have a lower peak and longer time base. This effect is further accentuated by the shape of the catchment, with long and narrow catchments having hydrographs most sensitive to the stormmovement direction.


6.3 Segments of a Hydrograph

Figure 6.2 Fig.6.2 shows a typical hydrograph which occurs due on isolated storm of duration (tr) on a catchment. The hydrograph of rainfall excess is also shown on the top left corner of the figure. The hydrograph consists of three segments : 1. Rising limb, 2. Crest segment, and 3. Recession limb. The salient features of these segments are discussed below: 1. Rising limb : Before the beginning of the storm, the discharge in the stream is due to base flow (or ground water flow), indicated by the curve OA. After the storm, the discharge in the stream gradually increases as the surface flow increases. As the storm continues, more and more surface water from the distant parts of the catchment reaches the guaging point and the discharge increases. The peak discharge usually occurs after some time of the occurrence of the storm. The time period between the centroid of the hyetograph and the peak discharge is called the basin lag which depends upon the catchment and storm characteristics. The rising limb AB has a well-defined point if rise, which is followed by a increasing discharge. The end of the rising limb is at the inflection point B where the curvature of the curve changes. The shape of the rising limb depends upon the characteristics of both the storm and the catchment. 2. Crest segment: There is another inflection point D on the other side of peak. The segment BD of the hydrograph between the two inflection points B and D is called the crest segment. After reaching the peak C, the discharge decreases. The crest segment is an important part of a hydrograph because it contains the peak discharge in it, which is


required in various hydrological studies. The peak discharge occurs when various parts of the catchment simultaneously contribute the maximum amount of runoff at the gauging station at the basin outlet. 3.Recession limb: After the inflection point D, there is no inflow to the stream due to surface runoff. The recession limb extends from the inflection point D to the point E, which represents the recommencement of the natural base flow (or ground water flow). The recession limb represents the withdrawl of water from the storage already built up in the catchment during the earlier phases of the hydrograph when surface runoff was occurring. This storage exists in the catchment in the following forms: (I) Surface storage due to surface detention and channel storage, (ii) Interflow storage, and (iii) ground water storage. The point of inflection D represents the condition of the maximum storage which gradually deplets after the cessation of the surface runoff. The shape of the recession curve depends entirely on the characteristics of the catchment and is independent of the storm characteristics. 6.4 Recession Curve As discussed above, the recession curve DE in Fig 6.2 occurs after the second inflection point D. Barnes showed that the recession curve (also called depletion curve) can be expressed by the characteristic equation, Qt = Q0 (Kr)t (6.1) Where Q0 is the discharge at the start of the recession, Qt is the discharge after a time interval of t, and Kr is a constant called the recession constant, whose value is less than unity. The time interval t is usually taken as one day, but for small catchments, it may be a shorter period. Eq.(6.1) is sometimes expressed in an alternative form: Qt = Q0e-at a = - log(Kr) Where The recession constant Kr is expressed as Kr = Ks * Ki * Kb (6.4) Where Ks, Ki and Kb are respectively the recession constants for surface storage, interflow storage and ground water storage. The average values of Ks, Ki and Kb are as follows : Ks = 0.05 to 0.20, Ki = 0.5 to 0.85, Kb = 0.85 to 0.99. (6.2) (6.3)


The value of the recession constant Kr can be determined by plotting Eq(6.1) on a semi-log paper in which the discharge is plotted on log scale as ordinate and time on natural scale as abscissa. It plots as a straight line. 6.5 Base-Flow Separation As already explained, the hydrograph represents the total runoff (also called simply runoff)from a basin. The total runoff is usually divided into two components, (I) direct runoff, and (ii) base flow. The direct runoff consists of the surface runoff and the interflow. For the derivation of unit hydrograph from a hydrograph (also called storm or flood hydrograph), the base flow is required to be separated from the direct runoff. Base-flow separation is also required to obtain a relationship between the direct runoff and the effective rainfall. The following four methods are commonly used in practice for the separation of the base flow. Sometimes, when the base flow is small, it is assumed to be constant.

Figure 6.3 I Method (i) The recession curve existing prior to the occurrence of the storm is extended upto the point F directly below the peak of the hydrograph (Fig 6.3) (ii) A point G is located on the hydrograph N days after the peak, where N is given by N = 0.83Ao0.2 (6.5)


Where A0 is the area of the drainage (km2), (iii) A straight line FG is drawn joining the points F and G ,(iv) A line is drawn from the point of rise A to point F. The flow below the lines AF and FG but above the X-axis is the base flow. This method is commonly used in practice. II Method This method is a modified form of the first method. A straight line AG is drawn from the point of rise A to the point G on the hydrograph N days after the peak in Fig 6.3. The flow below the line AG is the base flow. III Method In this method, a line AE is drawn tangentially to both the rising and recession limbs at their lower portions at points A and E. The flow below the line AE is the base flow. IV Method This method is commonly used when base flow is relatively large and reaches the stream fairly quickly. The recession curve is extended backwards to a point H directly below the inflection point of the falling limb. A line AH is then drawn from the point of rise A to the point H. The flow below the line AH and the line HJ is the base flow. Sometimes, the point A and H, and also H and J are joined by smooth curves. 6.6 Rainfall Excess and Effective Rainfall (a) Rainfall excess: If the initial loss and the infiltration loss are subtracted from the total rainfall, the remaining portion of the rainfall is called the rainfall excess. Thus Rainfall excess = total rainfall (initial loss and the infiltration loss) The rainfall excess is also called suprarain .The surface runnoff occurs only when there is a rainfall excess. (b) Effective rainfall : The effective rainfall is the portion of the rainfall which causes direct runoff. As the direct runoff includes both the surface runoff and the interflow, the effective rainfall is slightly greater than the rainfall excess. The effective rainfall can be obtained from the hydrograph. The volume of the direct runoff is obtained from the area of the hydrograph after separating the base flow. The effective rainfall is then obtained as the volume of the direct runoff diveded by the area of the catchment. Thus Effective rainfall = Direct runoff volume / Area of catchment Because the interflow is usually small, the direct runoff and the surface runoff are approximately equal, and the two terms are sometimes used synonymously. Likewise, the terms rainfall excess and effective rainfall are also sometimes used synonymously. However, the reader should note the difference between the two terms.


Figure 6.4 If the effective rainfall is expressed in terms of intensity (cm/hour) as ordinate against time as abscissa, the effective rainfall hyetograph (ERH) or the hyetograph of the rainfall excess or suprarain is obtained. Fig 6.4(b) shows on effective rainfall hyetograph obtained from the total rainfall hyetograph of Fig 6.4 (a). The area of the effective rainfall hyetograph is equal to the total effective rainfall volume. The effective rainfall hyetograph is usually plotted upside down along with the hydrograph at the top left corner. 6.7 Unit Hydrograph Theory The unit hydrograph is defined as the storm hydrograph resulting from an isolated storm of unit duration occuring uniformly over the entire catchment area and producing unit (i.e 1 cm) depth of direct runoff. The unit duration is usually expressed in hours and it is prefixed to the unit hydrograph. Thus a 6- hour unit hydrograph indicates the hydrograph which gives 1 cm depth of direct runoff when a storm of 6- hour duration occurs uniformly over the catchment. The unit hydrograph is also called the unit graph. Fig.6.5 shows a 6 hour unit hydrograph.


Figure 6.5 The unit duration of the storm depends upon the area of the catchment. For small catchments, the unit duration may be 1 to 3 hours; and for large catchments, it may be 6 to 12 hours. For very large catchments with an area greater than 1200km2, the unit duration is usually taken as 12 hours. The unit duration of about one-fourth of the basin lag is usually satisfactory, where the basin lag is the time period between the centre of the unit storm and the peak discharge. Another criterion for selecting the unit duration is that the total period of surface runoff for that storm duration should not be less than that for any storm of duration shorter than the unit duration. The unit hydrograph gives the response of the catchment due to 1 cm of effective rainfall which occours due to a storm of unit duration (tr). It relates the direct runoff hydrograph and the unit effective rainfall. Thus the unit hydrogrpah reflects the combined effect of all physical characteristics of the catchment. It may be noted that the average intensity of effective rainfall is equal to (1/tr) cm/hr for the unit hydrograph. A unit hydrograph for a given catchment can be calculated either (1) directly, by using rainfall-runoff data for selected events, or (2) indirectly, by using a synthetic unit hydrograph formula. While both methods can be used for gaged catchments, only the latter method is appropriate for ungaged catchments. Since a unit hydrograph has meaning only in connection with a given storm duration, it follows that a catchment can have several unit hydrographs each for a different rainfall duration. Once a unit hydrograph for a given duration has been determined, other unit hydrograph can be derived from it by using one of the following methods, (1) superposition method and (2) S-hydrograph method.


Basic proposition of the unit hydrograph theory: Sherman (1932) gave the unit hydrograph theory. There are three basic propositions of the unit hydrograph theory: (i) (ii) (iii) Time invariance Linearity of response, and Fixed base period

(i)Time invariance: It means that the direct runoff hydrograph does not depend upon the time when the storm occurs. In other words, the direct runoff hydrograph for a given effective rainfall of unit duration will be the same whenever such storm occurs on the catchment. (ii)Linearity of response : It means that the relation between the direct runoff discharge and the effective rainfall is linear. Therefore, the principle of superposition can be applied. Thus if the effective rainfall is 2 cm, all the discharge ordinates of the unit hydrograph would be doubled. (iii)Fixed base period : The period during which the direct runoff occurs is called the base period. The base period of the direct runoff hydrograph remains the same whatever may be the magnitude of the effective rainfall, provided the unit duration remains the same. 6.8 Derivation of a Unit Hydrograph from an isolated Storm hydrograph The following steps are applied to each individual storm: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Separation of the measured hydrograph into direct runoff hydrograph and baseflow. Calculation of direct runoff volume by integrating the direct runoff hydrograph. Calculation of direct runoff depth by dividing the direct runoff volume by the catchment area. Calculation of unit hydrograph ordinates by dividing the ordinates of the direct runoff hydrograph by the direct runoff depth. Estimation of the unit hydrograph duration.

Example 6.1 Given below are the observed flows from a storm of 3hr duration on a stream with a drainage area of 122 sq.mile. Derive the unit hydrograph. Assume constant base flow = 600 ft3/s


Hour 3am 6am 9am Noon Day Day 1

Day 1 600 550 6000 9500 Hour 3 am 6 am 9 am Noon 3 pm 6 pm 9 pm Midnight

Day 2 4600 4000 3500 3100 Observed

Day3 1700 1500 1300 1100 Base

Hour 3pm 6pm 9pm Midnight D.R.O (ft3/s) 0 0 5400 8900 7400 6400 5500 4700 4000 3400 2900 2500 2100 1800 1500 1300 1100 900 700 500 300 200 100 0

Day 1 8000 7000 6100 5300

Day 2 2700 2400 2100 1900

Day3 900 800 700 600 Hour after start 0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 33 36 39 42 45 58 51 54 57 60 63 66

3-hrU.H (ft3/s) 0 2297.9 3787.2 3148.9 2723.4 2340.4 2000.0 1702.1 1446.8 1234.0 1063.8 893.6 765.9 638.3 553.2 468.1 382.9 297.9 212.8 127.7 85.1 42.6 0

flows (ft3/s) 600 550 6000 9500 8000 7000 6100 5300 4600 4000 3500 3100 2700 2400 2100 1900 1700 1500 1300 1100 900 800 700 600

flow(ft3/s) 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600

Day 2

3 am 6 am 9 am Noon 3 pm 6 pm 9 pm Midnight

Day 3

3 am 6 am 9 am Noon 3 pm 6 pm 9 pm Midnight


D.R.O = 61600 cfs, Drainage area =122 sq.mile D.R.O. Depth =

61600 3 60 60 12 = 2.35 in 122 5280 5280

Unit hydrograph ordinate =

D.R.O hydrograph ordinate D.R.O depth

Check unit hydrograph ordinate = 26212.6 cfs (flow rates) 26212.6 3 60 60 x 12 = 0.998 (nearly 1) 122 5280 5280

U. H depth =

6.9 Change in Unit Hydrograph Duration

A unit hydrograph of a given duration has been derived for a catchment, a unit hydrograph of another duration can be calculated. There are two methods to change the duration of unit hydrograph: (1) the superposition method and (2) the S-hydrograph method. The superposition method converts an X-hour unit hydrograph into an nX hour unit hydrograph, in which n is an integer. The S-hydrograph method converts an X-hour unit hydrograph into a Y-hour unit hydrograph, regardless of the ratio between X and Y.
(1) Superposition Method

The procedure consists of lagging nX-hour unit hydrographs in time, each for an interval equal to X-hours, summing the ordinates of all n hydrographs, and dividing the summed ordinates by n to obtain the nx-hour unit hydrograph. The volume under X-hour and nX-hour unit hydrograph is the same. If Tb is the time base of the X-hour hydrograph, the time base of the nX-hour hydrograph is equal to Tb + ( n 1 ) X.


Figure 6.6 Example 6.2 Use the superposition method to calculate the 2-h and 3-h unit hydrograph of a

catchment, based on the following1-h unit hydrograph. Time (h)

0 1 2 200 3 400 4 800 5 700 6 600 7 500 8 400 9 300 10 200 11 100 12

Flow (m3/s) 0 100 Solution Time (h) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1-h U.H 0 100 200 400 800 700 600 500 400 300

Lagged 1-h 0 0 100 200 400 800 700 600 500 400

Lagged 2-h 0 0 0 100 200 400 800 700 600 500

2-h UH 0 50 150 300 600 750 650 550 450 350

3-h UH 0 33 100 233 467 633 700 600 500 400


10 11 12 13 14 (2)

200 100 0 0 0

300 200 100 0 0

400 300 200 100 0

250 150 50 0 0

300 200 100 33 0

S-hydrograph method

S-curve is a hydrograph produced by a continuous effective rainfall at a constant rate for an infinite period. It is a curve obtained by summation of an infinite series of X-hr U.Hs spaced X-hr apart.

Figure 6.7

It may be noted that the S-curve attains a constant discharge, called equilibrium discharge (Qe) ,at the end of the base period T of the first unit hydrograph. The equilibrium discharge is given by
A Q e = 2.78 ( ) cumecs tr where A is the catchment area (km2) and tr is the duration of unit hydrograph(hours) The S-hydrograph method allows the conversion of an X-hour unit hydrograph into a Y-hour unit hydrograph, regardless of the ratio between X and Y. Procedure consists of the following steps.


1 2 3 4

Determine the X-hour S-hydrograph. The X-hour S-hydrograph is derived by accumulating the unit hydrograph ordinates at intervals equal to X. Lag the X-hour S hydrograph by a time interval equal to Y-hours. Subtract ordinates of the two pervious S-hydrographs. Multiply the resulting hydrograph ordinates by X/Y to obtain the Y-hour unit hydrograph.

The volume under X- hour and Y-hour unit hydrograph is the same. If Tb is the time base of the X-hour unit hydrograph, the time base of the Y-hour unit hydrograph is Tb X + Y

Figure 6.7


Example 6.3 Given below is the 4-hr U.H for a basin of 84 sq.mile. Derive S-curve and find

the 2-hr unit hydrograph. Time (hr) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 solution (1) Times (hr) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 ( 2) 4-hr U.H S(cfs) 0 400 2500 4400 6000 7000 6100 5200 4500 3800 3200 2700 2200 1800 1400 1100 800 600 400 200 100 0 (3) curve S(cfs) 0 400 2500 4400 6000 7400 8600 9600 10500 11200 11800 12300 12700 13000 13200 13400 13500 13600 13600 13600 13600 13600 addition (4) (5) S-curve (6) (4)-(5) 0 400 2500 4000 3500 3000 2600 2200 1900 1600 1300 1100 900 700 500 400 300 200 100 0 ( 7) (6)x 4/2 0 800 5000 8000 7000 6000 5200 4400 3800 3200 2600 2200 1800 1400 1000 800 600 400 200 0 curve Lagged Difference 2-hr U.H (cfs) Flow, cfs 0 400 2500 4400 6000 7000 6100 5200 Time (hr) 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Flow ,cfs 4500 3800 3200 2700 2200 1800 1400 1100 Time (hr) 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Flow, cfs 1100 800 600 400 200 100 0

0 400 2500 4400 6000 7400 8600 9600 10500 11200 11800 12300 12700 13000 13200 13400 13500 13600

0 400 2500 4400 6000 7400 8600 9600 10500 11200 11800 12300 12700 13000 13200 13400 13500 13600 13600 13600


6.10 Use Of Unit Hydrographs

The unit hydrograph is an extremely useful tool in the hands of a hydrologist. It gives a relationship between the effective rainfall hyetograph and the direct runoff hydrograph for a particular catchment. Its main uses are given below: 1 Once a unit hydrograph for a duration tr has been developed for a basin, the storm hydrograph for that basin for any other storm of different intensity but the same duration can be easily developed. The unit hydrograph may be used for the development of the maximum flood hydrograph from the maximum rainfall for the design of spillways and other hydraulic structure. The available streamflow records can be extended using the rainfall records which are generally available for a longer period. The unit hydrograph can be used for flood forecasting and flood warning based on the observed rainfall in the basin.

3 4

6.11 Development Of Storm Hydrographs

Storm hydrograph of duration tr : A storm hydrograph of duration tr can be developed from the unit hydrograph of the same duration tr by using the procedure given below. 1 2 3 Determine the effective rainfall depth from the rainfall hyetograph after selecting a Compute the ordinates of the direct runoff hydrograph by multiplying the ordinates of Add the base flow to the direct runoff ordinates computed in step (2) to obtain the suitable value of the -index. the unit hydrograph by the effective rainfall depth. storm hydrograph ordinates.
Example 6.4 The ordinates of 3-hr U H are given below:

Time hr 3-hr U.H(ft /s)


0 0

12 1925




24 350

27 125

30 0

2125 3325 2525

1425 1025 650

Determine the resulting flood hydrograph from the following effective rainfall Hyetograph (ERH). Assume Constant base flow of 300 cfs.

Rainfall (in)

0.9 0.4 3 6 9



15 Time (hr)


(1) Time (hr) 0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 33 36 39 42

(2) (cfs) 0 2125 3325 2525 1925 1425 1025 650 350 125 0

(3) (cfs) 0 850 1330 1010 770 570 410 260 140 50 0 0

(4) (cfs)

(5) (cfs)

(6) flow 300 300 300 300

(7) Total flow (cfs) 300 1150 3540 4300 3340 5150 5980 4510 3300 2370 1640 1080 720 450 300

3-hr U.H 0.4x U.H 0.9 x U.H 1.2 x U.H Base

1910 2990 2270 1730 1280 920 580 310 110 0 0 2550 3990 3030 2310 1710 1230 780 420 150 0

300 300 300 300 300 300 300 300 300 300 300

6.12 Synthetic Unit Hydrograph

In the absence of rainfall-runoff data, unit hydrographs can be derived by synthetic means. A synthetic unit hydrograph is a unit hydrograph derived following an established formula, without the need for rainfall-runoff data analysis. The development of unit hydrograph requires relation between physical geometry of basin and resulting hydrographs.
Snyders Method

Basin lag tp (hrs) which is the time between center of mass of unit rainfall excess to the peak of the unit hydrograph is tp = Ct ( L . Lc )0.3 hrs (6.6)



Fig 6.10

Where L = distance from gaging station (outlet) to catchment boundary (divide) along the main stream (km) Lc = distance from gaging station to centroid of catchment area, measured along the main stream to the nearest point(km) Ct = a coefficient depending on units and drainage characteristics. The peak discharge Qp (cumec) for the unit hydrograph is
Qp = 2.78C p A tp (6.7)

Where A = Catchment area (km2)


Cp = a coefficient tp = basin lag (hrs) The duration of surface runoff, or the time base of unit hydrograph is T = 3 + 3( tp 24 ) days (6.8)

A standard duration of rainfall excess ,tr (hrs )is tr = tp 5.5 hrs (6.9)

For any other duration tr, a modified basin lag time tp is

t tr tp = tp + r hrs 4 Where tp = basin lag for a storm duration tr.


Sketch the unit hydrograph so that it satisfies the above derived parameters, and also the area under the hydrograph represents a direct runoff of 1 cm. While sketching the unit hydrograph, it is convenient to use the widths W50 and W75 of the hydrograph at 50 % and 75% of the height of the peak flow ordinate, respectively.(Fig.6.10)
W50 = W75 = 5.9 (q 'p )1.08 W50 3.4 = ' 1.08 1.75 (q p ) (6.11) (6.12)

where qp is the peak discharge per unit area (cumecs/km2) and W50 and W75 are in hours.
Example 6.5 Derive a 3-hr unit hydrograph for an ungaged basin from the following data..

Length L =32 km; length L c =25 km; Area of catchment =325 km2 Assume Ct =0.9 and Cp =1.8

Tp = Ct (LLc) 0.3 = 0.9 (32 x 25)0.3=6.7 hrs tr = tp/5.5 = 1.2 hrs


As tr is not equal to the desired unit duration tr, we have to calculate the value of tp.
tr tr 3 1.2 ) = 6.7 + ( ) = 7.2 hrs 4 4 2.78C p A 278 x1.8 x325 = = = 225.9 cumec Q p 7.2 t p t p = t p + ( 225.9 = 0.695 cumec / km 2 325 t p 7.2 T = 3 + 3( ) = 3 + 3( ) = 3.9 days = 93.6 hrs 24 24 5.9 3.4 W50 = = 8.7 hrs ;W75 = = 5.0 hrs 1.08 (q p ) (q p )1.08 q p =


Figure 6.11 shows the desired 3 hour unit hydrograph..

Fig 6.11