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Hydrologic Processes, Hazards and Management The Hydrological Cycle

Amount of fresh water available for human use is only 2.8% of total supply, and most of it is locked in ice sheets and glaciers, accounting for the water stress of people. 1. The Global Hydrological Cycle  Flows and exchanges of water between atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere  Water evapotranspirated from oceans, seas, rivers, soil, vegetation etc. transfers water to atmosphere  Water vapour condenses to form rain clouds to precipitate, transferring water to other parts of the hydrological cycle  Over land, precipitation exceeds evaporation, and over oceans, evaporation exceeds precipitation  Net gain for land, net loss for oceans, due to advection of water vapour over oceans to land  Surplus water on land flows as streamflow/runoff into oceans 2. The Basin Hydrological System  Used in studying hydrology of rivers and drainage basins  Inputs: precipitation, rain and snow  Storages: precipitation in basin stored in storages: interception, surface, soil moisture and groundwater storage. Slows down movement of water.  Flows: link storages together: stemflow and leaf drip, infiltration, percolation, overland flow, throughflow and baseflow  Outputs: water which leaves the basin as evapotranspiration or streamflow

Precipitation, Interception and Evapotranspiration
1. Precipitation  Provides initial input of water into the system. Distribution varies with climatic region  Tropical region has high precipitation due to high temperature, humidity and air instability. Subtropical areas have low annual precipitation due to subsiding air. Mid latitude areas normally have moderate cyclonic or frontal rainfall. Polar regions have low precipitation due to lowered water vapour capacity, low temperatures and subsidence 1.1 Types of Precipitation  Rain is the most common. Convectional rainfall is the result of displacement of warm air upward in a convectional system, common in tropical regions and summer seasons.  Orographic rainfall: air mass rising above a land barrier, such as mountains, with moisture deposited on the windward side, with the leeward side having much less  Frontal: warm air mass rises after encountering a colder, denser mass. Warm fronts have less turbulence and precipitation, while cold fronts have heavier storms  Snow, sleet and hail are less common forms at higher latitudes 1.2 Intensity of Precipitation  Humid temperate: low intensity of about 0.5-4 mm/hr. Warm fronts, light rain over a prolonged period

 Tropical: high intensity, up to 100-150 mm/hr. High temperatures, rapid evaporation lead to high humidity. Unstable air causes large clouds to form 2. Interception  Precipitation trapped on vegetation and other surfaces before reaching ground. Interception loss is intercepted precipitation evaporated to atmosphere 2.1 Types of Interception, Throughfall and Stemflow  Dense vegetation can act as interception storage, such as canopy interception. Throughfall such as leaf drip penetrates gaps in canopy. Water can run down branches and trunks as stemflow, both delivering water to litter layer. Some is stored as litter interception while rest infiltrates the soil.  Only part of total rainfall reaches soil while rest is lost as interception loss 2.2 Factors Affecting Interception  Interception depends on rainfall characteristics and vegetation  High intensity and short duration of rain results in less interception storage. Pine forests can intercept 94% of low intensity but only 15% of high intensity  Denser the foliage, greater interception storage especially in tropical forests  Brazilian forest – only 60% of water ever reaches ground 3. Evapotranspiration  Major output of water from drainage basins  Evaporation from precipitation accumulated on surfaces, soil and interception  Transpiration from plants 3.1 Potential vs. Actual Evapotranspiration  Potential evapotranspiration is the maximum rate at which evapotranspiration can take place i.e. if there is enough water  Actual evapotranspiration is the measured rate of evapotranspiration, which can be below the potential rate when there is not enough water 3.2 Factors Affecting the Rate of Evapotranspiration  Temperature: higher temperature, more energy to evaporate, can hold more air  Relative Humidity: ratio between amount of water vapour in the air at a given temperature and maximum vapour the air can hold. Lower the relative humidity, greater rate of evapotranspiration  Temperature and relative humidity influence the vapour pressure between water surface and atmosphere. Higher temperature, lower relative humidity, increased vapour pressure gradient, greater rate of evapotranspiration  Wind speed: positive relation with evapotranspiration, mixing saturated with unsaturated air  Vegetation cover: more vegetation = greater evapotranspiration. Large tree can transpire several hundreds of litres a day  Soil texture: affects field capacity and wilting point, determining the water available for evapotranspiration

Soil Moisture Storage, Infiltration, Throughflow and Overland Flow
1. Soil Moisture Storage  Soil comprises of mineral and organic particles, and is porous. Size of pores depends on the size and shape of particles  Pores serve as narrow passages, capillaries, to allow for rain water to pass through  Water can be stored as capillary water, adhering to soil particles by soil tension

Infiltration  Seeping of water into soil. When matric force exceeds the ability of plants to absorb water. adhesion between water molecules and soil particles. leaving capillary water – this is field capacity. Gravitational water is drained away from bigger pore spaces. However. soil attains saturation capacity where moisture content is equal to porosity of soil. from wet areas to drier areas. This is available for plants.06 mm from soil particle is drained by gravity  Water moves from areas of low matric force to areas of high force – i. increasing capillary action. dependent on gravity and capillary action. water is drawn from finer pores and nearer surface of soil particles. Occasionally.1 Rainfall Characteristics  Varying amounts. cohesion between water molecules  Matric force is strongest at the surface. hygroscopic water unavailable to plants remains.  When Precipitation > Potential Evapotranspiration again.3 Soil Texture and Available Water Capacity  Water availability of soil varies with texture of soil.1 Factors Affecting Infiltration  Infiltration capacity: maximum rate a soil in a given condition can absorb water  Infiltration rate is the actual rate of infiltration. retaining capillary water. Soil with more available water is more favourable to plant growth  Sandy soil has very low capillary action due to having very little surface area on each soil particle. Water beyond 0.e.1. capillary moves from wet to dry in any direction 2. vegetation breaking up drops into smaller size . until field capacity is reached 1. duration and size of rain drops  Light rain.  Available water capacity is soil moisture between field capacity and wilting point. this plate structure reduces pore size.1 Forces that Retain Soil Moisture  Soil tension is caused by matric force. reducing moisture below field capacity.1. high intensity rain minimises infiltration by compacting the soil due to impact  Highest where rain is steady. via capillary movement 1. small drops and short duration will be largely intercepted by surface vegetation. soil moisture withdrawal occurs. Precipitation > Potential Evapotranspiration. Gravity moves water vertically down. limiting infiltration largely and reducing moisture amount 2. a moisture deficit develops when actual evapotranspiration falls below potential evapotranspiration  When water is extracted by plants. large drops. and clay particles further expand with more water contact. This is wilting point. minimising infiltration  Heavy storm. allowing for greater gravitational draining  Clayey soil is platy and has high surface area.2 Seasonal Soil Moisture Variations  Wet season: beginning of year. soil moisture recharge occurs. thus there is a water surplus in the soil  Upon precipitation. Many small pores increases pore volume. the maximum amount of water freely drained soil can store  When Potential Evapotranspiration > Precipitation. dependent on nature of rainfall and capacity 2.

1.2 Variation in the Rate of Infiltration over Time  Beginning of rain. impeding infiltration 2. 4. impact of raindrops breaking and compacting soil. friable crumb structure increasing pore space  Protect soil from packing of rainsplash action.1.1 Forms of Overland Flow 4.Soil Texture  Determined by the constituent particles of the soil  Coarse texture results in large pore spaces – soil is porous and permeable  Fine.1 Sheet Flow 2. eventually emerging as small springs or seepages. providing passages for soil movement  Causes soil structure to form aggregates – loose. 2.1.7 Urbanisation  Replacement of vegetation by asphalt and concrete 2. infiltrates at rapid rate unless soil is saturated or hardened  Over time.3 Vegetation  Plants and soil fauna churn through soil.1. less permeable  Gravity flow is limited by pore size – flow resistance increases as diameter of pore increases  Water is trapped in pores by surface tension 2. clay minerals swell reducing pore size.2 . downslope flow of water underground. possibility of containing a clay pan due to washing down of fine materials by water.  Rate settles after a period (10-20 min) and becomes about constant at median 25 mm/hr 3. takes very long to reach rivers. Throughflow  Lateral.5 Terracing  Increasing time water in retained on slopes. Forms platy aggregates in soil. clayey soils have small. due to flow through small pores fissures  Generated with decreasing permeability with increasing soil depth – due to lower permeability of underlying parent bedrock. Can impede passage of fresh rain. contributing to surface runoff  More irregular and slower than overland flow.1. Overland Flow  Occurs when rain is unable to infiltrate into soil. compaction due to weight of soil above  Water is forced to drain laterally downslope.1. increasing speed of throughflow 4. Most responsible for soil erosion. occasionally forming underground pipes in the soil so flow is concentrated along well defined percolines. flowing over land surface  Temporary – only active during and slightly after rainstorms. numerous pores.6 Antecedent Soil Moisture  Water from previous rains still in soil. depending on rate of loss of water at the base of the soil  Also.4 Compaction  Perhaps by machines or animals. preventing crusting 2. capillary action reduced due to filling of pores. increasing infiltration 2.1. rate is reduced due to reduction in storage capacity.

urban areas where capacity is almost zero. Horton flow should increase in time and then remain stable 4. as erosion is accelerated with devegetation 4. humid tropics) rain causes infiltration to occur at capacity rate.g.2. downward movement of water through soil may be impeded due to presence of less permeable layers. Britain. since temperate conditions mean low intensity rainfall  Model works well in semi-arid areas where intensity is high and vegetation is sparse. surface water infiltrates easily. and agricultural lands where soil has been compacted or removed to expose less permeable sub-soil 4. Sheet flow/unconcentrated wash is not confined to channels.4 Limitations of its Applications  Limited as Horton flow is rarely generated under natural conditions e. Infiltration rate = rainfall intensity  High intensity (thunderstorms.3 Generation of Saturation Overland Flow  Common occurrence in temperate regions  Occurs when ground gets saturated – with rain falling onto slope. devegetated areas where capacity is low.2 Generation of Hortonian Overland Flow 4. initially occupying small irregularities called depression storage  Depression storage quickly overflows to form sheet of water down the slope.2. Water stored on hillside is surface detention 4. so if rainfall intensity remains constant.1 Condition for Generation of Hortonian Overland Flow  Occurs when rainfall intensity exceeds infiltration capacity  If intensity is low (temperate frontal rain). developing channels  Rills can integrate into larger gullies over time.2 Variation of Hortonian Overland Flow on Slope  Amount and velocity of Horton flow varies in downslope direction  Amount increases downslope due to accumulation of surface water  Velocity of flow increases downslope due to increased slope gradient and lesser friction as flow depth increases 4. saturated zone giving rise to higher water table.2 Rills and Gullies  Concentrated wash occurs when rainfall is channelled along surface depressions and irregularities  Occurs on lower slope which is steeper  Small channels incised into slope surface form rills. generating Throughflow  Soil at base of flow becomes saturated. Excess water accumulates on soil surface. leading to rilling and rill erosion. extending upslope  Forms overland flow by return flow and direct precipitation onto saturated ground .2.3 Variation of Hortonian Overland Flow with Time  Infiltration capacity decreases with time and becomes constant after a while. Occurs on upper part of slope where surface is smooth  Sheet erosion – soil removed in uniform thin layers  Accumulates at base of slope to form thickening colluvium/slope wash 4.2.1.

like chalk valleys in England. or channel precipitation forms a small part  Overland flow.1 Features of a Typical Storm Hydrograph  Channel precipitation gives initial rise of discharge. but falls and dries in summer  Ephemeral channels are dry for most of the time. river discharge returning to baseflow. Discharge decreases with distance from source.2. Sources of Channel Flow  Channel flow and overland flow form surface runoff  Discharge which makes up channel flow is channel storage. Maintains river flow after rain has stopped 3. 3. peak discharge generated takes time to pass down main channel. only occupied after a storm. Storm Hydrographs  River discharge is plotted against time. most common in humid tropics. since it takes time for water to flow to gauging station  Reflects time needed for rain to generate overland flow until it eventually reaches station. continuous flow of water is provided as baseflow from groundwater storage 2. where water table intersects the channel all year round  Intermittent channels are seasonally occupied by water. and steepness indicates proportion of overland flow and response speed to rainfall  Peak discharge occurs when river reaches highest level  Lag time is interval between peak of rainfall intensity and peak of channel discharge.Channel Flow and Hydrographs 1. In winter. very slow to respond to storm compared to stormflow. Gentler and generally concave  Stormflow/quickflow is part of discharge from overland and throughflow  Baseflow is discharge contributed by groundwater. normally in arid regions. as well as a dampened or lesser pronounced peak progressively . found in areas with strong seasonal contrasts. Type of River Channels  Perennial channels are occupied by flowing water throughout the year. and it takes time for water to infiltrate. inducing the rising limb. Thus river may peak some time after the rain peaks  Shorter lag tend to have higher peak and more prone to flooding as rainwater is concentrated in river over shorter time  Double peaks may result from overland flow. followed by overland flow. throughflow contribute as well  During non-rain periods.2 Factors Influencing the Forms of Storm Hydrographs  Differences in rate of increase of discharge and recession 3. and then throughflow  Recession limb is when discharge is decreasing and river level is falling. as water is stored temporarily within these channels  Sources of channel flow: direct precipitation. which are concave. due to water table being very far down.1 Location of Rainstorm  If storm is located at upper part of basin. water table rises to surface.  Annual hydrographs show long term/seasonal changes in discharge  Storm hydrographs illustrate short term fluctuations 3. Gauging stations located downstream will have longer lag times.

3 Hydrograph of Glacial Melt Water  During summer in regions like Alps. evapotranspiration is low and snowmelts from Pennine moorlands release water  The Volga. For River Tees. has increased infiltration and percolation. has high discharge between March and June due to snowmelt  River Derwent has impermeable shale-sandstone. reducing lag time and increasing peak. In spring.4 Effects of Vegetation  Vegetation intercepts rainfall. reducing peaks and extending lag times 3.2. storing water on its leaves as interception storage. because of Horton flow 3.3 Basin Size. such as chalk subsoil having high porosity increasing infiltration 3. Peak may be higher if more precipitation is captured  Longer basins have longer lag time and lower peak. leading to much less baseflow and flashy hydrographs – short lag times with high peaks. conveying water to channelized. Groundwater storage does not interact with channel flow.2.2. worsening floods 3. saturating soil. slowing response of river to rainfall. reflecting differences in precipitation amount and evapotranspiration loss. the fluctuations of river’s discharge over a year. having more baseflow. with groundwater interacting to regulate the stream flow. surface melting peaks during early afternoon and minimum at dawn  Hydrographs of streams draining from glaciers show daily peaks. reducing total discharge  Plant roots reduce throughflow. reducing peak  Vegetation increases capacity and rate of infiltration.  Lag time reflects time for meltwater to flow off ice surface or through tunnels within and beneath glacier 4. River Wye. in late summer discharge is lowest due to low soil moisture and groundwater flow.2.6 Urbanisation  Infiltration capacity decreased greatly due to artificial surfaces. so more throughflow occurs. as same amount of discharge is spread over a longer time  Steeper-sided valleys of basins will have higher peaks and shorter lag times due to faster flows 3. USSR.2. Shape and Relief  Bigger basins have longer lag times due to longer distance of flow.Nature of Precipitation  Intense rainfall leads to higher proportion of stormflow. leading to short lag times and very high peaks. hydraulically efficient streams  Accumulation of storm water downstream much faster. made of permeable carboniferous limestone. Annual Hydrographs  River regime. is climate dependent due to seasonal fluctuations  Britain – difference in discharge from winter to summer.2 . reducing short term fluctuations 3.5 Basin Geology  Permeable rocks and soil give hydrographs with low peaks and long lag times. Smooth surface makes the flow very fast. increasing volume and rate of Horton flow.

precipitation recharge occurs (input). the water table rises 2. when exceeds baseflow and springflow (output). solution cavities (like limestone. Groundwater Storage and the Water Table  Groundwater storage occurs when water can percolate downwards  Water table divides saturated rocks from unsaturated rocks  Vadose (zone of aeration) air and water fills openings in soil and rock (field capacity)  Phreatic (zone of saturation). fractures of joints. there is more rainfall in winter than summer.2 Fluctuations in the Height of the Water Table  Determined by input and output of water into and out of groundwater storage  When precipitation exceeds evapotranspiration. ceasing percolation and precipitation recharge of aquifers. the table will be relatively flat. Primary is natural pore spaces. In summer. which can be pore spaces. even intersecting valley floors. all spaces are filled by groundwater (saturation capacity)  Water table.2 Long Term Water Table Fluctuations  Water table reflects precipitation amount and forms underground reservoirs of rainwater. due to alternate layers of aquifers and aquicludes.2 Geological Structure  Sometimes. but impermeable due to small pores 2.1. If rainwater stopped. depending on porosity and permeability of the rock  Aquifers are rock formations which are porous and permeable. vadose and phreatic zones fluctuate with changing seasons 2. carbonation and solution) and vesicles (trapped gas bubbles in volcanic rocks)  Permeability is capacity of a rock to permit ready transmission of water into and through rock. In flat areas. it rises and falls with the land. while aquicludes are not. producing the intermittent streams  Zone of intermittent saturation – within this zone the water table rises and falls in response to climatic conditions. Smaller in humid regions – fluctuation is less 2. potential evapotranspiration is very high.2. water table will be pulled down flat to around valley level 2.1.1 Seasonal Water Table Fluctuations  Short term fluctuations occur in areas with strong seasonal climatic contrast  In Britain. precipitation exceeds evapotranspiration. lowering water table. Shale is highly porous. while porosity is total volume of voids. In winter. recharging the water table.1 Factors Affecting the Forms of Water Table 2. Aquifers and Aquicludes  Whether a rock is an aquifer or aquiclude depends on amount of groundwater stored In the rock.  Porosity is percentage of rock consisting of voids. pockets of groundwater are stored above main water table. closer to surface in humid regions but much deeper in arid areas .Groundwater Storage 1.2. due to replenishing of water by precipitation.1 Surface Topography  Water tables have gradients similar to surface relief. while secondary is through fractures  Permeability depends on size of voids. but in hilly areas. giving rise to perched water tables 2.

Potential evapotranspiration is high due to constantly high temperature. Spatial Variations in the Water Balance  Water balance varies greatly between climatic regions 1. Not recharged by present day rainfall – fossil groundwater accumulated during pluvial periods of the Quaternary. both effluent and influent. When it is low. ephemeral streams 4.3 Salt Water Intrusion  Sustained groundwater withdrawal in coastal zones eventually draw salt water into wells. chemical waste) 4. so vast water surpluses throughout. and water outflow by evapotranspiration (E). groundwater moves into river channels as baseflow (effluent). and must be abandoned  Fresh groundwater floats on sea water due to being less dense – lens with convex faces  Depth of fresh water below sea level is 40 times elevation of water table above sea level  Eventually.1 Ground Subsidence  Subsidence/sinking of land as a result of reduction of groundwater storage  Central Valley of California. Large biomass = high evapotranspiration. constant baseflow. landfills. Storages are also plentiful. groundwater recharge 4. urbanisation and industrialisation can pollute surface and underground water  Wastes from industries. . polluting groundwater storage (e. permanently influent. whether stream conditions are effluent or influent  When water table is high. P = E + R ± S 1. Runoff is high. no water deficiency. perennial streams.g. water is not replaced – water table falls  Sahel – long term changes in water table results from extraction. forming cones of depression 3. Problems Associated with Groundwater Utilisation and Pollution 4.1 Water Balance of Singapore  High rainfall in excess of 2700 mm/year. water table is lowered. If extracted. elevation of salt water is high enough to be drawn into wells. Venice and Bangkok  Southern California: artificially replacing water by diverting rivers over permeable deposits. Groundwater and Channel Flow  Groundwater affects channel flow as the level of the water table determines whether baseflow occurs. contaminating freshwater supply Water Balance Balance between water inputs into river basin as precipitation (P). intermittent streams  Arid regions: water table far below surface.2 Groundwater Pollution  Increase in population. flow seeps underground (influent)  Humid regions: permanently effluent due to high precipitation. Mexico City. but input of precipitation is always larger. Since no recharge occurs. perennial streams. Saudi Arabia – limestone and sandstone aquifers contain water far below ground level. stream flow (R) and change in water storage (S). carrying leachate down to water table.  Temperate regions: seasonal contrasts. beneath river bed level. Percolating rainwater picks up ions.

in late spring and early summer. geology. R is rank of a discharge . n is number of years records exist for. Recurrence Interval = (n+1)/R.1 Causes of River Floods  Excessive rain – high intensity/long duration. roughness.2 Flood Intensifying Conditions  Many factors combine to determine the flood propensity of an area. Flood Prediction and Flood Forecasting 2.1. load. negligible in winter. Low water storages on surface. recharge of storages (+S)  Summer: low P (-P). storage. is enhanced during summer due to increased temperature and vegetation  Winter: high P (+P).1. urbanisation and cultivation can reduce infiltration capacity. Monsoons. 2. Causes of River Floods and Flood Intensifying Conditions  Floods may be caused by vast input of water into river channels. low E (-E) = high runoff (+R). Peak discharge for each year is ranked according to discharge volume. Town of Zhouqu flooded. soil type.1 Flood Recurrence Intervals  Statistical probability based on past floods.1 Water Balance of Britain  Winter precipitation greater than summer. exceeding bankfull discharge and overflowing occurs  Conditions of basin and channels may increase or decrease flood propensity 1.  Maximum river discharge is identified for each year. Potential evapotranspiration. vegetation  Channel conditions: slope. flood control works  Manmade characteristics affect nature and intensity since man can alter basin and channel characteristics: deforestation. Streams are ephemeral. Potential evapotranspiration is very high due to very high daytime temperature – large water deficiency prevails.  Dam Failure – St Francis Dam failure in 1928 flooded the San Francisquito Canyon. Iceland glacier melted. Bailong River got dammed by boulders as a result of intense rains.2 Water Balance of Sudan  Very low precipitation of less than 18 mm/year. in soil and underground. high E (+E) = low runoff (-R). Temporal Variations in the Water Balance  Considerable fluctuations within a year – in places with distinct seasons 2. killing 500 1. Bangladesh flooding due to Himalayas snow melt  Volcanic action – cause rapid snowmelt. prolonger rainfall increases input e.  Landslides – rock can damn upstream.  Basin conditions: area/shape. 2. shape. Long records are required. Indus River during monsoons  Rapid snowmelt – often alongside rainfall. Pakistan floodplains.1 Flood Prediction  Whether a flood of a particular magnitude will occur during a specific time span  Foretells the likelihood of a flood occurring 2. climate. Minimal runoff due to very low water table. water deficiency (-S)  Intermittent streams Flood Management 1. building up water and causing flooding: Gansu Province in China. increasing stormflow in relation to baseflow. tropical cyclones.g.

2 Flooding in Bangladesh  Big.278 CIA  Qpk is peak rate of discharge (m3/s). there is little catchment storage. By July. I is rainfall intensity (mm) and A is drainage area (km2)  C is the index of soil type. precipitation does not vary with time/space.2 Flood Forecasting  Shorter time intervals undertaken when a rainstorm occurs  With past data of basin. this reaches Bangladesh.2 . channel flow and measurement of precipitation distribution. inundating a large part of Bangladesh 2. Storm drains carry rainwater efficiently. Works best for urban and suburban areas with high runoff. leading to more overland flow and higher flood propensity.1 Rational Runoff Method  Predicts runoff rates by assuming that stormflow discharge is a fixed proportion of rainfall intensity  Qpk = 0.8km2. roughness. does not vary with storm intensity or antecedent soil moisture 3.6% in 1988. C is rational runoff coefficient. vegetation and basin land use  System works ideally for catchments of less than 0. Brahmaputra and Meghna converge  May and June – snowmelt in Himalayas increases discharge greatly. Case Studies 3. Intense rainfall causes a lot of stormflow to concentrate in river channels in a short time. macro scale flooding  Bangladesh is in the lower flood plain delta formed where the Ganges. topography. impermeable surfaces and lined drain channels have increased to 48. removing vegetation and reducing interception storage and infiltration capacity. limited channel storage and no lakes  Assumes that generation process is Horton flow with whole catchment contributing  Assumes uniform precipitation over entire basin. it can be calculated when the flood will reach a point along the channel and how high it will be 2. micro flooding  Rainfall – high rainfall about 2550 mm/year. flooding. somewhat steep channels. making channels exceed bankfull discharge 3. amount and intensity. Normally occurs during monsoon at beginning and end of year  Topography – Bukit Timah Granite and Jurong Formation are flood prone due to having steep sided valley walls concentrating flood water on low valley floors  Recent Developments – rapid urbanisation.Interpreting Flood Frequency Graph  Recurrence interval plotted against flood discharge produces flood frequency graph  Predicts chance of a flood of a certain discharge happening in a year  Vague estimates based on past records – changing circumstances make it a lot less reliable 2.1 Flooding in Singapore  Small scale. coinciding with the summer monsoon rains.1.2.

Red River in North Dakota had two 250 year floods within 110 years.g. changes in position of river channels  Disruption – shortages of food and cleaning supplies. not ceteris paribus.2 Forecasting and Limitations  Many unrealistic assumptions of the rational runoff method . worsening floods.1 Effects of Floods 4. especially in Nepal. is accelerating runoff and increasing erosion rates. but in 1988 the peaks coincided. corruption from misuse of funds. Canyon Gorge. levees. destruction of wildlife habitat 4. made worse by dead bodies festering  Tertiary: Location of river channels may change as result. primary hazards  High discharge.2 Secondary and Tertiary Effects  Secondary: long term as a result of primary effects. houses and bridges  Massive erosion. load increases. Insurance rates may increase. larger load.e. Shorewood. 2004  Water damage by flooding homes. Washington. Sediment may destroy farm land. undercutting e.1 Primary Effects  Occur due to contact with water. including rocks. Management of Floods 4.1. cars. affecting crops and livestock  Drowning  Concentrate rubbish. due to modification of drainage basin such as deforestation. undermining bridge structures. Deforestation – Severe deforestation across catchments. high velocity. Loss of jobs. Drinking water may be polluted.g.1 Recurrence Intervals and Limitations  Useful in calculating probability of floods  However. Only a statistical method calculating probability  Long term changes may also be taking place i.2. Gas and electricity disruption.1. toxic pollutants which can cause secondary hazards 4. debris.2 Prediction 4. silting up channels. worsening flooding 4. in reality do not occur at regular time intervals. e.2. property damage e.g. but degree to which it worsens is debated  Coincidence of flood peaks – The timing of rains and snowmelt vary between the three catchment basins. USA. transport disruptions  Disease – water borne diseases such as cholera. health problems. raising channel beds. Deforestation makes sediment supply to channels increase as rainsplash on bare slopes washes off soil. sediment. 2010  Deposited sediment covers everything with mud  Flooding farmland. Tertiary: very long term changes. urbanisation and agriculture  Requires long periods of data – accuracy of small sample questionable 4. leading to starvation. leaving old channels dry. Includes disrupting services.

Smoothness increase velocity. channel capacity decreases.4 Channelisation  Enlarges cross sectional area.3. forecasts can allow flood warnings to be issued in time. Francis Dam in the San Francisquito)  Thermal stratification – heating of top. but flash floods are an issue since it requires time.g. non-structural  Structural solutions are expensive. low ridges of fine alluvium built along both sides of stream channel. Idaho.3 Mitigating River Floods  Roughly split into engineering vs. such as Mississippi  Preventing river from re-meandering is difficult 4. 4. e. Danube.3. Built by piling earth on level surface. releasing it slowly. spreading out the flood over a longer time.  Increase height of levees or dredge up the ground. Regardless.3. Straightening and shortening the stream increases gradient and velocity. recreation  Can cause silting behind dam  Barrier to migration of aquatic life  Inundation and loss of land space behind dam  Dam failure (Teton Dam. so floor is built up. like the Mississippi in 1993 4. e.2. allowing more discharge to be held.3 Dams  Flood control damns store floodwater.3. Sacramento. Can be zoned for agricultural or recreational use .6 Non-structural Approach  Floodplain zoning – laws restricting construction and habitation of floodplains. Can also be used for irrigation.5 Floodways  Areas that act as an outlet to a stream during flooding  Land between Mississippi and Lake Ponchartrain is used as a floodway when River peaks. Can be used to decide interest rates for houses.3. 4. give false sense of security 4.g. broadbased and tapered top.3. Spillway is opened to allow for water to drain. hydroelectricity. reducing chance of levee failure 4.  May fail.2 Artificial Levees  Slopes are steeper than natural levees. lowering level of water in the river.1 Natural Levees  Broad. 10-year flood and so on  Scale models often constructed as well. changing environmental conditions for aquatic life 4. as well as insurance rates. St. built up by natural events over a long period  Heightened artificially by earth dykes to protect property in floodplain 4.3 Hazard Mapping  Determine areas susceptible to flooding when bankfull discharge exceeded  Historical data + topographic maps to show what area has a how large chance of being flooded. leading to more efficient transport of water.  Can worsen flooding by depositing sediment on floor. Mississippi River. which would otherwise have been deposited onto floodplains. stagnant surface.

due to contamination of food and water supplies  Long term commitment. but there are often conflicts over rivers and groundwater  Politicising of water resources – possible source of tension in Middle East  Scenarios: international drainage basins where upstream states have control over resources vital for downstream countries. where pumping drains resources from neighbouring states. while police was busy with search and rescue.g. long term redevelopment  Issues occurring during emergency response: Civil disturbance. to assess flood risk. Curfew was imposed. cholera.  Evacuation and shelter. immediate relief. reconstruction and recovery. Jordon and Colorado) and there is no other major surface water such as lakes and rivers. Introduction to Catchment Management  Extensive manipulation of water by humans recently – dams. Water pollution pose problems for quantity and quality of water supplies  Conflicts of interest: transboundary rivers and catchments. Immediate global assistance dwindled as media coverage gets lesser. groundwater schemes. Should have long term assistance by relief organisations. sewage disposal and irrigation  13% of river flow is controlled by mankind  Key issues: provision of enough water to meet demands of a growing population. Demand is high due to water needed for various . International aquifers. Nile. Catchment Management 1. and problems with climate change and unreliability of water sources  Water is a limited resource: critical shortage of water in USA by national water survey. hampering the process of recovery. food poisoning. Contrasts in water endowments between neighbouring countries  Potential for armed conflict. Many evacuated. National Guard brought in. 8 catchment plans covering England and Wales) 4. Reasons for Water Conflict  Water is a limited resource where demand exceeds supply.4 Responses  Phases of response efforts: search and rescue. Supply is usually limited because the region is arid (e. leaving poor and old behind – possible inequity damage. improve water quality and land use in catchment (UK. impact of water developments on the environment. typhoid fever. since no international law officially governs such situations 2. Building codes – structures allowed within floodplain should be able to withstand velocity of waters. tuberculosis. Prolonged flooding could have led to dehydration. International collaboration (Canada and USA for Columbia River) is possible. hepatitis A. Conditions in shelter was squalid and provisions were insufficient  Health effects. high enough to reduce risk of water damage  Buyout programs – cost effective for governments to buy rights to land rather than pay reconstruction costs every time river floods  Mortgage limitations – refuse to loan to those who want to build houses or businesses in prone areas  Catchment management – holistic system of managing different land uses within catchment. Looting and violence was widespread after Hurricane Katrina.

Danube). Uganda and Kenya in 1954. 3. Austria. Czechoslovakia. Yugoslavia. water logging the ground and making it salty  80% of water was lost to evaporation and seepage. Jordan/Israel). Two tributaries.  When there is “unfair” distribution or sharing of the limited water resource conflicts is also inevitable. Whether this agreement should still remain binding is disputed. After securing Lake Victoria. 3. Forty years of multinational talks about cleaning the river up  Nile River: the dam and Lake Nasser. Anyone can pollute the river. Diplomatic agreements formed by Britain. Gamal Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal. half has been lost. Mexico and Colorado). The Aral Sea shrank. a dam was built with cooperation of Britain. but inefficiencies led to failure of watertightness of the channels. 1 in 10 babies die before turning one. Fertile silt is brought down by its waters. Case Studies 3. 3.  Rivers are often transboundary.1 Problems of Major Rivers  Yellow River in China  Hoover Damn in Colorado: upstream vs. and the White Nile from Lake Victoria in Uganda  The British aimed to control the Nile. Nikita Khrushchev diverted water from the two main rivers feeding the sea to farm cotton. leading to the Suez Crisis to regain British sovereignty.g. Hungary. downstream  Danube: transboundary through Bulgaria. Some downstream countries do not get any water at all when all the water was removed upstream (e. The unreplenished delta is sinking. affecting cotton farming and commercial fishing. the Blue Nile from Lake Tana in Ethiopia. Switzerland.g. but stopped due to guerrilla attacks  The Blue Nile supplies more than 80% of Nile water. Today.g. . Egypt and Ethiopia in 1902 made Ethiopia promise not to take any water from the Blue Nile – unfeasible. salty dust.3 River Nile  The Nile is 6600km long and flows through 10 countries. affecting health problems. Downstream countries will suffer if there is pollution downstream since water quality usually deteriorates with increase distance downstream if waste is discharged into rivers untreated or insufficiently treated (e.g. Wind blows contaminated.2 The Aral Sea  Inland lake bisecting Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Downstream countries will also be deprived of their “due share” of water if there is excessive withdrawal upstream. generating electricity and controlling flow of water  Britain annexed Sudan in 1898 in a conflict over Nile water to alter the course of the river in southern Sudan by avoiding the Sudd swamplands. The unequal sharing can be the result of Agreements/Treaties in favour of one party (e. Egypt/Nile) or the military might of a party (e. increasing salinity. Germany. Romania.purposes such as agriculture (where potential evapotranspiration is very high in arid regions) and industries that is water intensive. leading to Britain and US refusing to help fund the Aswan Dam. Excavation started in 1970s.  Egypt recognised the USSR and China. Malformation and anaemia problems. inevitably leading to conflicts between upstream and downstream states regarding water quality and quantity.

China was devastated by floods from the Yangtze.  How will reductions be affected? Agriculture? Who is afforded priority?  Programmes to change attitudes: school awareness programmes. increasing shipping volume by 5 times  Communities along river bank have to be evacuated – about a million people. Kenya and Ethiopia are still being sidelined – possible future clashes 3. Costs 28 billion dollars. which is depleting quickly  Deprives Mexico of its water as well. such as people from Fongdu and Fuling – sense of community lost  Fertile banks will be flooded.2 million kilowatts of electricity  Flooding upstream allows for goods to be shipped directly to Chongqing. West Bank and Golan Heights. Arizona – an average family uses over 1 million litres a day  $4 billion conduit – Central Arizona Project – transports water from Colorado River. 20% of electricity used to pump water from Sea of Galilee. and water resources are shared between Arab and non-Arab nations  Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers were tapped by Israel to water the desert. Israel responded by attacking the Plan’s sites  Six Day War gave Israel control over Gaza Strip.4 River Jordan  ¼ of the Arab world has no surface water.5 River Colorado and Las Vegas  Phoenix. The dam was built to control such floods by controlling the release of water  Many risks and hard work involved in building the dam – dynamite. excavation  Main Yangtze is polluted – carbon emissions from coal and acid rain. after the damming by the Hoover Dam  Regulated to the max – amount permissible is under treaty. Agreement In 1959 gave Egypt the right to more than two-thirds of Nile water. Underground aquifers drained in decades. and the Yarkon-Taninim Aquifer  Imbalance of water resources between countries: Israel has 8 times that of Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  In August 1998. Silting may cause flooding upstream. Farmers lack good water – groundwater drops 15-20cm each year. and Sudan accepted on the condition that they were allowed to share all the water. 70% of water used for agriculture. 1964 Arab Summit proposed to stifle Israel  Syria constructs the Headwaters Diversion Plan to prevent Jordan River reaching Israel. but demand is increasing. Population could increase by 34 mil in next 30 years.6 Three Gorges Dam  Controls the Yangtze River in China. resulting in saltwater intrusion. Leading cause of death is heart disease caused by such pollution  Dam generates 18. dam failure may cause possible floods downstream . But Uganda. spoiling crop  1994 peace treaty with Jordan ensuring more equitable distribution  Palestinians’ water still controlled by Israel – require permission for drilling in West Bank. thus turning to groundwater.  Kibbutz – deserts bloom. National Water Carrier system of canals transport water from Sea of Galilee to Negev Desert  Jordan only covers 200km – very limited amount of water  Israel uses a large amount of water. using low-wateruse plants for landscaping 3. Aswan Dam allowed electrification of Egypt and desert was cultivated. 3. and wells cannot be deeper.

1. decreasing friction increasing energy  Channels made of silt and clay are deeper and narrower than coarser materials as they are cohesive. so large rivers are exponentially more powerful than smaller rivers 1.2 Velocity and River Energy – Manning’s Equation  V = R2/3 x S1/2 / n  Velocity (V).2. allowing rivers to erode and transport load  Amount of kinetic energy determined by volume and velocity of flowing water  Energy possessed determined by discharge (volume x velocity)  Velocity variation is more important – x2 velocity = x4 increase in energy.2 Coefficient of Roughness  Higher the n. to reduce restrictions on stream velocity . Factors Affecting River Discharge/Energy  River discharge (Q) in m3/s = Cross sectional area (A) in m2 x River velocity (V) m/s 2. Generation and Dissipation of River Energy 1. leaving the rest for fluvial processes (carrying capacity)  Turbulence is important in created upward motion to lift and support sediment to aid in erosion and transportation 2. leading to more energy downstream: increased erosion and transportation of load  Arid regions with permeable channels – volume decrease downstream due to high evaporation and seepage.3 Hydraulic Radius  Ratio between area of cross-section and length of wetted perimeter  Higher hydraulic radius means less water in contact with bed and banks. due to increased friction  Downstream.2. higher the velocity (^R = ^V) 2. less efficient 2. Hydraulic Radius (R).1 Energy Generation  Stored potential energy as a result of high position – sun evaporates water enabling it to be deposited at higher level.2 Energy Dissipation  Energy used up when river erodes channel.Channel Morphology The study of channel pattern and geometry at points along a river channel.1 Volume of Water and River Energy  Increase in amount of water = higher discharge = more efficient river  Humid tropical and temperate regions – volume of water increase downstream due to tributary contribution. roughness coefficient (n) 2. lower the velocity. Decrease in energy downstream. transports load and experiences friction (both along river surfaces and between threads of water. River’s ability to perform geomorphological work (erosion and transportation) is determined by energy.1 Channel Slope  Change in gradient of river will affect amount of energy – steeper the gradient. turbulent flow of eddies)  About 95% of energy is used to overcome friction. river is smoother as it is more likely to be made of clay/silt/sand instead of rocks and boulders (largely due to erosion of load) 2. including tributaries.2. Channel Slope (S). promoting bank stability  Shape of ideal channel is semicircle. Energy converted to kinetic energy.

leading to very high flow velocity to rapidly clear water Fluvial Processes 1. due to carbonic acids in rainwater.1.1 Vertical Downcutting  Characteristic of fast rivers with a lot of coarse bedload. more energy available to transport load (carrying capacity increased). smooth and semi-circular to increase R and reduce n. generating localised erosion.2. creating smooth depressions (potholes) in the bedrock 1. Independent of river discharge/velocity  Dissolved load in rivers come mainly from ions in groundwater 1. lowering the river bed. such as limestone.1. High velocity of flow abrades and potholes the channel floor.2 Hydraulic Action  More common in middle-lower course and in alluvial channels (semi coherent sand/clay/silt)  Sheer force of flowing water dislodges particles of unconsolidated material  Bank collapse (at concave banks of meanders). River Erosion  Allows a river to deepen.1 Abrasion/Corrasion  Common in upstream regions and rock-cut channels  Coarse.1.2 Components of River Erosion 1. velocity increases/remains constant downstream despite gradient drop  Water flows more efficiently in larger channels. so lower gradient is fine 4. forming a rock-walled gorge . Erosion processes vary in different parts of the channel and in different types of channels 1.3 Attrition  Wearing away of suspended and bedload as fragments collide against each other  Particles become more rounded and decrease in calibre downstream 1. rubbing and wearing away rock outcrops  Responsible for downcutting. Bubbles in water collapse. pothole drilling can occur. Downstream Variation in Stream Velocity  On average:  S decreases downstream due to being in the lower course = lower V  R increases downstream due to increase in channel width and depth = higher V  n decreases downstream due to smoother materials = higher V  On average. where pebbles are trapped in hollows. along with humic acids from plants  Wide range of rocks susceptible. widen and lengthen its channels.3. angular fragments of rock are dragged and rolled along channel floor especially during floods.4 Solution  Occurs in dissolvable rocks.1 Erosion Processes 1. resultant shock waves weaken river banks and lateral erosion 1. deepening channels  In rivers with strong eddy motions. lateral erosion is more significant  Cavitation may occur when extreme turbulence occurs.1. Urbanisation and Effects on Stream Velocity  Urban drainage systems are straight.

causing downcutting to the base level of erosion.1 Transportation Processes  Bedload is transported by either traction or saltation  Large rock fragments roll along the stream bed.2 Lateral Erosion  Occurs when river meanders. the velocity which a particle of a certain size requires to be eroded or entrained.2.3 Headward Erosion  Active at the head of the river or where the river is locally steep  First case: like rivers emerging from underground streams in limestone areas. resulting in headward erosion 2.3 Velocity and River Transportation  River velocity affects river capacity and river competence  River capacity: total volume of sediment a river is able to carry. Varies with the third power of river velocity  River competence: the heaviest load a river is able to carry. competent velocity is high but settling velocity is almost zero – a very large drop in velocity is required to deposit it. Suspended load normally forms the greatest proportion of total load. Larger particles have higher competent velocities due to being heavier.  Greater the particle size. erosion of channels and continual feeding of sediment from valley sides . where lateral erosion occurs at the bottom. increasing towards the river mouth. so bigger particles have a higher settling velocity (velocity at which a particle is deposited)  Velocity maintaining particles in suspension is less than the velocity required to entrain them. resulting in retreat of concave banks 1.2. River Transport 2.5mm in size have the lowest competent velocity i. The difference for coarse particles is smaller – a smaller drop in velocity is sufficient to deposit 2.4 Downstream Changes in Sediment Load  Amount of sediment increases downstream due to contribution by tributaries. which largely comes from underground  Proportion of bed and suspended load fluctuates with velocity 2. The oversteepened bank collapses.2 Hjulstrom Curve  Particles 0. narrow V shaped valleys 1. the greater the velocity required to transport it. erosion is concentrated where velocity is the highest.e. For fine clays. where steep valleys deliver coarse debris to river channels  Smaller rocks may be transported by saltation. Rate of downcutting may increase if there is river rejuvenation (rise in land or fall in sea level). Size and amount of load able to be suspended increases with increasing velocity  Dissolved load is transported in solution. forming deep gorges or deep. Smaller particles like clay are cohesive and bonded. Varies with the sixth power of river velocity  Nature of sediment load transported is also affected by geology and climate 2. erosion will extend valley headwards  Second case: like in waterfalls. bouncing along the bed of the river due to turbulence  Suspended load is transported by suspension. called traction. requiring higher velocity. When river swings and attacks concave banks. Most important at source of stream. where particles are small enough to be constantly held up by turbulence.

3 Flood Plains (Vertical Accretion)  When river overflows its banks. River Deposition  Occurs when rivers competence or capacity is lowered. tributaries flowing in valleys flow along very steep gradients. Some sediment is transported to convex banks to form point bars (helicoidal flow). velocity and energy sharply decrease. Wavelength of a meander is about 7-10 times channel width  Features of a meander: pools and riffles.1 Features Associated with Depostion 3. Upon reaching the plain.1 Alluvial Fans  Upland with steep valleys. Coarsest particles will be deposited just beyond the banks. or when there is a sudden loss of energy either due to decreased velocity or discharge 3. and seem to begin with development of pools and riffles in channels . the floodwater containing sediment decreases greatly in velocity due to increased wetted perimeter. carrying lots of load.1. River Meanders 1. cross over point. accumulating alluvium. meandering and braided channels – straight channels are rare. meander wavelength and meander amplitude 1.2 Point Bars and Flood Plains (Lateral Accretion)  In meanders.2 Geometric Features of Meanders  Meanders are usually symmetrical and forms are relatively consistent. either when there is an input of load causing river to overload. 1.1.1 Sinuosity Ratio  Ratio between distance along centre line and distance of entire channel i. only occurring when a river flows down steep slopes or when it is strongly influenced by joints or faults. lateral erosion occurs along concave banks.e. Sediment tend to be rounder and of finer calibre downstream due to attrition and gentler finer calibre valley side slopes 3. depositing load.4 Meander Formation  Meanders develop due to constant erosion and deposition. can build up over repeated flooding Channel Plan Forms Generally. point bars. Concave banks retreat while convex banks advance. which may result in an alluvial fan – a cone-shaped mass of alluvium with apex at the point between highlands and the plain 3. there are straight.3 Reasons for Meander Development  Maybe the stream needs to lose energy due to surplus energy.1. river bluffs. A river is meandering only when the ratio exceeds 1:1.5 1. how far the channel deviates from a straight line. as deposition occurs starting with the largest particles. Flood plain can be created when point bars undergo lateral accretion 3. so meandering is a method of expending energy to do work 1. depositing silt and clay on the floodplains  May form natural levees.

but some will be colonised by vegetation. whereby sediment accumulates and the mid channel bars grow  Midchannel bars further constrict water flow around them. permanent and withstand erosion better 2. the river is deeper and more asymmetrical  The spacing of the pool-and-riffle sequence is related to size of channel – distance from one riffle to the next is roughly 5-7 times channel width  Riffles tend to slope alternately towards opposite sides so that the thalweg (line tracing deepest water of greatest velocity) winds between the riffles. Riffles are regularly spaced bars of coarser sediment on the river bed. Braided Rivers  Main characteristic is subdivision of water flow along anabranches separated by midchannel bars. As discharge falls and banks widen. resulting in an inefficient channel with high width-depth ratio and larger wetted perimeter  River flow is unstable or seasonal. turning them more stable as plants help to trap sediment. resulting in a retreating concave bank and retreating river bluffs  Helicoidal flow drags sediment across the river bed to the other side. freeze-thaw weathering supplies coarse debris to rivers  Low elongated unvegetated bars of sand and gravel and vegetated islands above water level. Other looser bars may be eroded during next high discharge season . which are deposited during low discharge to form mid-channel bars. which are more stable. concentrated bank erosion occurs due to hydraulic action. Braiding is therefore more common in semi-arid or temperate regions prone to irregular downpours or seasonal melting  Braided rivers tend to have coarser bedload. localising river flow to increase velocity. Energy lost in erosion and friction causes sediment to be deposited at the convex bank to form point bars  When river becomes too sinuous. where the river is shallower and more symmetrical  Pools occur between the riffles where sediment is finer. large amounts of sediment are entrained due to energy increase. Banks are also eroded.5 Meander Movement  Extension. cutting of meander necks results in oxbow lakes 1. In colder regions. energy decreases and the river will deposit load to form mid channel bars. thus experiencing largely lateral erosion and widening the channel. translation. deflecting between alternate banks  Where deflection occurs. for example. water level decreases to expose the bars  Some mid channel bars will be washed away. buried or eroded but the overall pattern remains 2. rotation. lateral movement. Highly active but still rather stable. enlargement. eventually becoming islands.2 Formation of Braided Channels  During high discharge.1 Main Features of a Braided Channel  Banks are often made of incoherent materials such as sand and gravel. complex change 2. eroding banks further. Individual channels may be abandoned. Coarse bedload forms the core. Fluctuating discharge is necessary for the formation of mid-channel bars by allowing time for erosion and deposition. widening the channel  During lower discharge.

which is a limitation since stream ordering should provide a scale and indicate discharge 1.3. Middle and lower courses with channels made of finer material More suspended load – load is of finer calibre. R is low. link between bifurcation ratio and lag time is not concrete .2 Strengths and Weaknesses of Strahler’s Method  Simple and easily applied – widely used nowadays  Order number does not reflect relationship with size and capacity. S increases to compensate for inefficiency Generally more stable – mid channel bars experience erosion. then taking the average of all figures  Ratio will be low for branching rivers and high for simpler patterns  For low ratios. there is no change in order  The trunk stream of the basin is therefore the highest order 1. for high ratios. more bedload. but overall channel remains same Meandering River Lower on average Lesser and smaller – finer. greater the mean drainage basin area 1. When a stream of lower order joins one of higher order. oxbow lakes etc. gentler Overall less stable – meanders constantly change. made of more cohesive material and withstand more lateral erosion Lower – due to being in middle lower courses. However. a sharper peak is likely.1 Strahler’s Method  Smallest tributaries are first order streams. due to being mainly in upper courses with steep slopes and freeze thaw More bedload – coarse material from upper course used to form mid channel bars Higher – wide and shallow due to bank instability (incoherent material) and constant lateral erosion Higher – steeper due to being in upper courses.4 Bifurcation Ratio  Dividing number of streams in one order by the number in the next order. Stream Power and Flow Velocity Sediment amount and Size Proportion of Bed to Suspended Load Width-depth Ratio Channel Gradient Channel Stability Drainage Basin Analysis Useful techniques for analysing drainage systems. they increase by one order. Stream Order Analysis 1. along with high energy downstream Lower – balanced. a gentler peak is typical.3 Law of Stream Number  Law of stream number: inverse geometric relationship between stream order and stream number: it is likely that there are many first order streams and logarithmically fewer higher order streams  Law of stream length: higher order streams are likely to be longer  Law of basin areas: higher the stream order. during floods Greater and larger – coarser. Quantitative analysis enables relationships between different aspects of drainage pattern of the same basin to be formulated as general laws 1. Comparison of Meandering and Braided Channels Braided River Higher on average. When two streams of the same order meet.

drainage network may be open and spaced (lower Dd). permeable rocks have lower Dd since most water percolates downwards  Annual Precipitation/Rainfall Intensity – Higher annual precipitation and high intensity may result in more discharge and overland flow. such as between wet and arid regions. total stream length over total basin area  Allows comparisons to be made.1 Drainage Density Calculation  Dd is expressed in km/km2. increasing Dd  Infiltration Capacity – permeable soil has lower Dd . On the other hand. calculated Dd will be low because underground streams are not taken into account – valley density may be useful 2.2 Problems Associated with Drainage Density Calculation  With distinct wet and dry seasonal areas. reflecting to some extent the amount of runoff a basin generates since channel capacity needs to be sufficient to cope with normal discharge from precipitation 2. Normally from 5km/km2 on permeable sandstone. increasing Dd  Vegetation – denser vegetation results in greater infiltration. Dd for wet and dry seasons will be different – higher for wet.2.3 Factors Controlling Drainage Density  Time – originally. but over time creation of tributaries leads to higher Dd over the same area  Rock Type – impermeable rocks tend to have greater overland flow.  In areas with permeable rocks like limestone. to about 500km/km2 on unvegetated clay 2. increasing Dd. surface drainage may be intermittent streams. or between permeable and impermeable basins. Drainage Density  Measure of the frequency and spacing of stream within a basin. reducing Dd  Relief – steeper slopes generated more runoff.