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Water SA

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

Abstract

SMITHERS, JC; STREATFIELD, J; GRAY, RP  and  OAKES, EGM. Performance of regional flood frequency analysis methods in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Water SA [online]. 2015, vol.41, n.3, pp.390-397. ISSN 1816-7950.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/wsa.v41i3.11.

Estimates of design floods are required for the design of hydraulic structures and to quantify the risk of failure of the structures. Many international studies have shown that design floods estimated using a regionalised method result in more reliable estimates of design floods than values computed from a single site or from other methods. A number of regional flood frequency analysis (RFFA) methods have been developed, which cover all or parts of South Africa. These include methods developed by Van Bladeren (1993), Mkhandi et al. (2000), Görgens (2007) and Haile (2011). The performance of these methods has been assessed at selected flow-gauging sites in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. It is recommended that the limitations of available flow records to estimate extreme flow events need to be urgently addressed. From the results for KZN the JPV method, with a regionalised GEV distribution with the veld zone regionalisation, generally gave the best performance when compared to design floods estimated from the annual maximum series extracted from the observed data. It is recommended that the performance of the various RFFA methods needs to be assessed at a national scale and that a more detailed regionalisation be used in the development of an updated RFFA method for South Africa.

Keywords : regional flood frequency analysis; KwaZulu-Natal.

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