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Water SA

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


SMITHERS, JC; ROWE, TJ; HORAN, MJC  and  SCHULZE, RE. Development and assessment of rules to parameterise the ACRU model for design flood estimation. Water SA [online]. 2018, vol.44, n.1, pp.93-104. ISSN 1816-7950.

Design flood estimation (DFE) is essential in the planning and design of hydraulic structures. In South Africa, outdated methods are widely applied for DFE. In this paper the potential of a continuous simulation modelling (CSM) approach to DFE in South Africa, using the daily time-step ACRU agrohydrological model, is investigated. The paper focuses on the links and similarities between the SCS-SA and ACRU models and the subsequent preliminary investigations that were undertaken to account for and incorporate the land cover classes, including land management practices and hydrological condition, of the SCS-SA model into the ACRU CSM approach. The approach to this study was to investigate how design volumes simulated by the SCS-SA model for various land management practices or conditions could be simulated by the ACRU model. Since peak discharge estimation in both models is directly dependent on simulated volumes, this preliminary study focused only on design runoff volumes, with subsequent investigations on peak discharge required in future research. In the absence of observed data, design runoff volumes and changes in design runoff volumes, as simulated by the SCS-SA model, were used as a substitute for observed data, i.e., as a reference, to achieve similar design runoff volumes and changes in design volumes in the ACRU model. This was achieved by adjusting relevant input parameters in the ACRU model to represent the change in management practice or hydrological condition, as represented in the SCS-SA model. Following a sensitivity analysis of relevant ACRU parameters, calibration of 2 selected parameters against SCS-SA CN values for selected land cover classes was performed. A strong linear relationship (R2 = 0.94) between these ACRU parameters and SCS-SA CNs for selected land cover classes was found and consequently specific rules and equations were developed to represent SCS-SA land cover classes in ACRU. Recommendations are made to further validate and verify the approach and to further the development of a CSM system for DFE in South Africa.

Keywords : Design flood estimation (DFE); continuous simulation modelling (CSM); SCS-SA and ACRU models; land cover; land management practice; hydrological condition.

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