To avoid confusion, express R in metres (m) and A in square metres (m
). The result, Y, will then be expressed in cubic metres (m
Example of catchment-yield calculation
A catchment area is bare of vegetation and moderately sloping
The run-off coefficient was estimated to be 15%
Catchment area (A) = 3.5 km
= 3,500,000 m
Annual rainfall (R) = 450 mm = 0.45 m
Run-off coefficient (C) = 15% = 0.15
Therefore, annual yield: Y = C x R x A=0.15x 3,500,000 x 0.45 = 236,250 m
Refer to Appendix 7 for additional examples and more precise methods of calculating both run-off rate and volume of annual runoff.
Appendix 7 Estimation of catchment run-off
In natural catchments, any rainfall is either intercepted by vegetation, infiltrates into the soil, starts moving over the surface as run-off or is lost through evaporation. In order to design appropriate conservation structures such as diversion ditches or waterways it is important to be able to make an estimate of run-off. For a rainfall episode of given duration and intensity, the proportion which becomes run-off depends mainly on the cover of vegetation or crop residues, the soil infiltration rate, water content and storage capacity, and the slope of the land. For some purposes it is necessary to know the peak rate of run-off in cubic metres per second, and for others it is necessary to know the volume of run-off in cubic metres. For example, if a diversion ditch or waterway has to be designed, the critical factor is the rate of run-off, whereas if a retention ditch has to be designed, the expected volume of run-off should be estimated so that the ditch can be made large enough. Run-off rate and run-off volume are estimated in quite different ways, as explained below. There are two simple methods used for estimating run-off rate, known as the rational formula and Cook's method. They are both useful, and as they will not give exactly the same result they can both be used and the results compared to check on the reliability of the estimate.