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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


SMITHERS, JC et al. Development and assessment of a daily time-step continuous simulation modelling approach for design flood estimation at ungauged locations: ACRU model and Thukela Catchment case study. Water SA [online]. 2013, vol.39, n.4, pp.00-00. ISSN 1816-7950.

The estimation of design floods is necessary for the design of hydraulic structures. Commonly used event-based approaches to design flood estimation have several limitations, which include the estimation of antecedent soil moisture conditions and the assumption that the exceedance probability of the design flood is the same as the exceedance probability of the design rainfall. Many of the limitations of event-based approaches may be overcome by the use of continuous simulation modelling for design flood estimation. This paper contains a brief summary on the development and assessment of a continuous simulation modelling system for design flood estimation in ungauged catchments. These developments include an investigation into the appropriate spatial scale of model configuration for optimum performance of the system, the temporal disaggregation of daily rainfall for hydrograph generation, flood routing in ungauged catchments and the use of radar information and rain-gauge data to improve the estimation of catchment rainfall. Results from the application of the system for design flood estimation in the Thukela Catchment in South Africa are presented and discussed. The results from the study highlight the challenges of hydrological modelling in an operational catchment and the need for reliable rainfall and runoff data. From the results obtained, it is concluded that reasonable and consistent estimates of design floods in the Thukela Catchment, particularly in smaller sub-catchments, can be obtained using the ACRU model.

Keywords : Design flood estimation; continuous simulation modelling; Thukela Catchment.

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