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**written by: Harlan Bengtson • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 10/29/2010
**

Get Excel spreadsheet templates for calculating a watershed time of concentration. This

parameter is of interest primarily for its use to calculate peak storm water runoff rate for storm

water management facilities.

Time of Concentration in Hydrologic Calculations

The time of concentration of a watershed is the time that it takes for rainfall landing on the

hydrologically farthest point of the watershed to reach its outlet. The watershed time of

concentration is of interest primarily because of its use as the storm duration for determination of

the design storm rainfall intensity to use for rational method calculation of peak storm water

runoff rate.

The time of concentration is used for this design storm duration because it will give the

maximum peak storm water runoff rate for a given recurrence interval. The rationale is as

follows: For storm durations less than the time of concentration, the storm will end before runoff

from the entire watershed is reaching the outlet, so the entire watershed will never be

contributing flow at the outlet. For storm durations greater than the time of concentration, the

storm will continue beyond the time when the entire watershed starts to contribute flow at the

outlet, but a longer duration storm will have a lower intensity than a shorter duration storm with

the same recurrence interval. Thus a storm of duration equal to the time of concentration will

indeed give the maximum peak storm water runoff rate for a specified recurrence interval.

Ok, so that's why there is interest in the time of concentration, now read on for information on

how to calculate values for the time of concentration of a given watershed.

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Methods of Estimating Time of Concentration

Many different empirical equations have been developed for calculation of travel time and time

of concentration for the many variations in types of watersheds. These include the Izzard

equation, the Kerby equation, the Kirpich equation, the Manning Kinematic equation, the

National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) method, the Bransby Williams equation, and

the Manning equation.

For this article, three of the equations will be discussed. The Manning Kinematic equation will

be presented for use with overland sheet flow, the NRCS method will be presented for shallow

concentrated flow, and the Manning equation will be discussed for channel flow. These three

methods of calculating travel time are those recommended by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service

(SCS) in the first reference at the end of this article. These methods are also given in the second

reference, the Iowa Stormwater Management Manual.

Excel Spreadsheet Templates for Travel Time by the Manning Kinematic Equation

The Manning Kinematic equation is shown in the boxes at the right for U.S. and for S.I. units.

The parameters in the equation are as follows:

t

1

= overland sheet flow runoff travel time, min (NOTE: many places show the constant

being 0.007 for U.S. units giving the time in hours. These equations both give travel time in

minutes.)

n = Manning roughness coefficient, dimensionless

L = length of the flow path, ft (S.I. - m)

P = 2 year, 24 hr rainfall depth, in (S.I. - mm)

S = ground slope, ft/ft (S.I. - m/m)

The Excel spreadsheet template image shown at the left is set up to calculate the overland sheet

flow travel time using the Manning kinematic equation, based on the

input value entered for the other parameters listed above. Tables with values of the Manning

roughness coefficient for various overland flow conditions are available in all three of the

references for this article.

Click here to download a table of n values prepared from information in Reference #2.

Additional sections of an overall spreadsheet for calculation of watershed time of concentration

are presented and discussed separately in the next few sections. U.S. and S.I. versions of the

entire spreadsheet can be downloaded from links at the end of this article, on page 2.

Download Excel spreadsheet templates to calculate storm water runoff travel time for shallow

concentrated flow by the NCRS method and for channel flow with the Manning equation. The

watershed time of concentration is obtained by summing the storm water runoff travel times for

overland sheet flow, shallow concentrated flow, and channel flow. The Excel spreadsheet

templates can be downloaded in either U.S. units or S.I. units.

Excel Spreadsheet Templates for Travel Time by NCRS Method

Reference #1 for this article recommends using the Manning Kinematic equation for travel

length of no more than 300 ft and reference #2 recommends that L should be no more than 100 ft

for that equation. Both of these methods recommend using the NCRS method for the shallow

concentrated flow that typically develops within 100 to 300 ft into the watershed. The approach

used in the NCRS method is to first calculate the velocity of the shallow concentrated flow based

on the type of surface and slope. Then the travel time is calculated by dividing the travel length

by the velocity of flow. The NCRS method equations are as follows:

t

2

= L/(60V) ( for either U.S. or S.I. units )

V = 16.1345 S

0.5

for U.S. units ( V = 4.9178 S

0.5

for S.I. units) for an unpaved surface

V = 20.3282 S

0.5

for U.S. units ( V = 6.1960 S

0.5

for S.I. units) for a paved surface

The parameters in these equations and their units are as follows:

t

2

is the travel time for shallow concentrated flow in minutes (for either U.S. or S.I. units)

L is the length of the flow path in ft for U.S. or m for S.I. units

V is the velocity of flow in ft/sec for U.S. or m/s for S.I. units

S is the slope of the flow path, which is dimensionless for either U.S. or S.I. units

A Excel spreadsheet template that will calculate the shallow concentrated flow travel time using

the NCRS method is shown at the right above. It is part of the overall time of concentration

Excel spreadsheets that can be downloaded through links at the end of this article.

Excel Spreadsheet Templates for Travel Time by The Manning Equation

The Manning Equation is widely used for open channel flow calculations and is recommended in

both of the first two references to calculate the travel time for any channel flow portion of the

watershed runoff path. The equations used in this part of the spreadsheet are as follows:

The Manning equation in U.S. units: Q = (1.49/n)A(R

2/3

)(S

1/2

)

The Manning equation in S.I. units: Q = (1.0/n)A(R

2/3

)(S

1/2

)

R = A/P

V = Q/A

t

3

= L/(60V)

The parameters in these equations and their units are as follows:

Q = channel flow rate in cfs for U.S. units or m

3

/s for S.I. units

V = average velocity of flow in ft/sec for U.S. units or m/s for S.I. units

R = hydraulic radius of the channel (= A/P) in ft for U.S. units or m for S.I. units

A = channel cross-sectional area in ft

2

for U.S. units or m

2

for S.I. units

P = wetted perimeter of channel in ft for U.S. units or m for S.I. units

S = channel bottom slope, which is dimension for either set of units

n = Manning roughness coefficient for channel

L = length of flow path in ft for U.S. units or m for S.I. units

t

3

= travel time for channel flow in min for either set of units

An image of an Excel spreadsheet to calculate channel travel time using the Manning equation is

shown at the upper right. This is part of the overall Excel spreadsheets for watershed time of

concentration that can be downloaded in U.S. or S.I. units from links in the next section. For

additional background on Manning equation calculations and more downloadable Excel

spreadsheets, see the article, "Use of Excel Spreadsheet Formulas for Uniform Open Channel

Flow/Manning Equation Calculations."

Overall Excel Spreadsheets for Calculating Time of Concentration

The overall watershed time of concentration is simply the sum of all the travel times calculated

as described in the last three sections. An overall Excel spreadsheet template containing the

modules described above for Manning kinematic equation, the NCRS method, and the Manning

equation calculations, along with provision for summing all of the travel times to get the

watershed time of concentration, can be downloaded in U.S. or S.I. units by clicking on the

appropriate link below.

Click here for the spreadsheet in U.S. units.

Click here for the spreadsheet in S.I. units.

Excel Formulas to Calculate Water Flow Rates for Different Pipe Sizes

written by: Harlan Bengtson • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 5/26/2011

Excel formulas to calculate water flow rates for pipe sizes (diameters and lengths) can be

downloaded as Excel templates in this article. The Hazen Williams formula is used for water

flow rate calculations. Either S.I. units or U.S. units can be used in the Excel spreadsheet

templates.

Limitations on the Hazen Williams Formula for Water Flow Rate Calculations

The Hazen Williams formula is an empirical equation that can be used for turbulent flow of

water at typical ambient temperatures. The turbulent flow requirement is not very limiting. Most

practical applications of water transport in pipes are in the turbulent flow regime. For a review of

this topic see the article, 'Reynolds Number and Laminar & Turbulent Flow.' Strictly speaking,

the Hazen Williams formula applies to water at 60

o

F, but it works quite well for a reasonable

range of water temperatures above or below 60

o

F. For fluids with viscosity different from water,

or for water temperatures far above or below 60

o

F, the Darcy Weisbach Equation works better

than the Hazen Williams Formula. Click on the following link for more details about the Darcy

Weisbach Equation.

Following presentation and discussion of several forms of the Hazen Williams equation in the

next couple of sections, a downloadable Excel spreadsheet template will be presented and

discussed for making Hazen Williams water flow rate calculations, using Excel formulas.

Forms of the Hazen Williams Formula

There are several different forms of the Hazen Williams Formula in use for water flow rate

calculations. It can be written in terms of water velocity or water flow rate, in terms of pressure

drop or head loss, and for several different sets of units. The traditional form of the Hazen

Williams formula is:

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U.S. units: V = 1.318 C R

0.633

S

0.54

, where:

V = water flow velocity in ft/sec

C = Hazen Williams coefficient, dependent on the pipe material and pipe age

R = Hydraulic radius, ft (R = cross-sectional area/wetted perimeter)

S = slope of energy grade line = head loss/pipe length = h

L

/L, which is dimensionless

S.I. units: V = 0.85 C R

0.633

S

0.54

, where:

V is in m/s and R is in meters

The Hazen Williams Formula is used primarily for pressure flow in pipes, for which the

hydraulic radius is one fourth of the pipe diameter (R = D/4). Using this relationship and Q =

V(πD

2

/4), for flow in a circular pipe, the Hazen Williams formula can be rewritten as shown in

the next section.

Water Flow Rates for Pipe Sizes over a Range of Diameters with the Hazen Williams

Formula

For flow of water under pressure in a circular pipe, the Hazen Williams formula shown above

can be rewritten into the following convenient form:

in U.S. units: Q = 193.7 C D

2.63

S

0.54

, where:

Q = water flow rate in gal/min (gpm)

D = pipe diameter in ft

C and S are the same as above

in S.I. units: Q = 0.278 C D

2.63

S

0.54

, where

Q is in m

3

/s and D is in meters

The Hazen Williams formula can also be expressed in terms of the pressure difference (ΔP)

instead of head loss (h

L

) across the pipe length, L, using ΔP = ρgh

L

:

In S.I. units, a convenient form of the equation is: Q = (3.763 x 10

-6

) C D

2.63

(ΔP/L)

0.54

, where

Q is water flow rate in m

3

/hr,

D is pipe diameter in mm

L is pipe length in m,

ΔP is the pressure difference across pipe length, L, in kN/m

2

In U.S. units: Q = 0.442 C D

2.63

(ΔP/L)

0.54

, where

Q is water flow rate in gpm,

D is pipe diameter in inches

L is pipe length in ft,

ΔP is the pressure difference across pipe length, L, in psi

This is a form of the Hazen Williams formula that is convenient to use for estimating water flow

rates for pipe sizes and lengths in U.S. units, as illustrated in the section after next on the second

page.

The second page of this article has a table with values for the Hazen Williams coefficient, a table

with example water flow rate calculations for several PVC pipe lengths and diameters, and a link

to download a spreadsheet template with Excel formulas to make the water flow rate

calculations.

Values for the Hazen Williams Coefficient

In order to use the Hazen Williams formula for water flow rate

calculations, values of the Hazen Williams coefficient, C, are needed for the pipe material being

used. Values of C are available in many handbooks, textbooks, and on internet sites. C values

typically used for some common pipe materials are shown in the table at the left.

Source:Toro Ag Irrigation (PDF)

Example Calculation of Water Flow Rates for Pipe Sizes and Lengths

The table below was prepared using the equation: Q = 0.442 C D

2.63

(ΔP/L)

0.54

, with units as

given above, to calculate the water flow rates for PVC pipe with diameters from 1/2 inch to 6

inches and length from 5 ft to 100 ft, all for a pressure difference of 20 psi across the particular

length of pipe. The Hazen Williams coefficient was taken to be 150 per the table in the previous

section.

...............................................WATER FLOW RATE IN GPM.............................................

...................... ..................................Pipe Diameter in Inches.............................................

length, ft........0.5.......0.75........1.........1.5.........2.........2.5.........3..........4..........5............6

....5................23........66........140.......407.......868.....1560......2520....5371.....9659......15,601

...10...............16........45.........96........280.......597.....1073......1733....3694.....6643......10,730

...15...............13........36.........77........225.......479......862.......1393....2968.....5337........8620

...20...............11........31.........66........193.......410......738.......1192....2541.....4569........7380

...40................7.........21.........46........132.......282......508........820.....1747.....3142........5076

..100...............4.........13.........28.........81........172......309........500.....1065.....1916........3096

The table shows a pattern that you should intuitively expect. For a given pressure difference

driving the flow, the water flow rate increases as diameter increases for a given pipe length and

the water flow rate decreases as pipe length increases for a given pipe diameter. The equation

above can be used to calculate water flow rates for pipe sizes and lengths with different pipe

materials and pressure driving forces, using the Hazen Williams equation as demonstrated in the

table above.

An Excel Template to Calculate Water Flow Rates for Pipe Sizes and lengths.

The spreadsheet template at the left has the Excel formulas built in to

calculate water flow rates for different pipe sizes as illustrated in the previous section. This Excel

spreadsheet template that can be downloaded below, allows for input of the Hazen Williams

coefficient value and the pressure drop across the length of pipe being considered. Also, the pipe

diameters and lengths can be changed from those currently in the spreadsheet, so the flow rate

can be calculated for any combination of pipe diameter and length if the Hazen Williams

coefficient is known and the pressure drop across the pipe is known.

The example spreadsheet has U.S. units, but an S.I. version and a U.S. version are available for

download.

Click here to download this spreadsheet template in U.S. units.

Click here to download this spreadsheet template in S.I. units.

Storm Water Sewer Design Calculations

written by: Harlan Bengtson • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 5/26/2011

Use the Excel formulas in the templates included with this article to compute the hydraulic

portion for storm water drainage in a storm sewer design.

Storm Sewer Hydraulic Design

The Excel template that can be downloaded from this article is useful for making the hydraulic

portion of storm sewer design calculations between any pair of manholes. The first step in this

stormwater drainage system design is using the rational method to determine the design

stormwater runoff flow rate for a given section of storm sewer. The next step is calculation of the

pipe diameter and slope for that section of storm sewer, using the Manning Equation. Finally, the

pipe invert elevation at each manhole needs to be determined. An overview of typical design

criteria and the overall hydraulic design procedure is available in the article, "Drain Storm Water

with Good Storm Sewer Hydraulic Design." Each of the steps is discussed briefly in the next

several sections of this article and the spreadsheet template with the Excel formulas is then

presented and discussed on page 2.

The Rational Method for Calculation of Design Flow Rate

The design stormwater runoff rate to use for any stormwater drainage system design is typically

calculated with the rational method equation, Q = CiA, where Q is the design stormwater runoff

rate, C is the runoff coefficient (an estimate of the fraction of rainfall that becomes surface

runoff), i is the design rainfall intensity, and A is the runoff area that drains to the section of

sewer pipe being designed. More details about the rational method and its use are given in the

article, "The Rational Method for Calculation of Peak Storm Water Runoff Rate." The most

complicated part of rational method calculations is determination of the design rainfall intensity,

which depends upon the design return period, the design storm duration, and the intensity-

duration-frequency (IDF) relationship for the location of the storm sewer design. Determination

of design storm intensity is discussed in the article, "Calculating Design Rainfall Intensity for

Use in the Rational Method."

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The Manning Equation for Calculation of Pipe Diameter and Slope

The criteria used to calculate the design diameter and slope for a section

of sewer pipe are as follows:

1. The pipe must be able to carry the design stormwater runoff rate.

2. The flow velocity in the sewer pipe must be greater than or equal to the design V

min

(usually 3

ft/s)

The use of these design criteria and the Manning equation

[ Q = (1.49/n)(A)(R

h

2/3

)(S

1/2

) ] to calculate the pipe diameter and slope is discussed and

illustrated with an example in the article, "How to Use the Manning Equation for Storm Sewer

Calculations." The procedure is also illustrated in the spreadsheet template presented on page 2

of this article.

Determining Pipe Invert Depths at Manholes

The design criterion that helps to determine the pipe invert depth (or

elevation) at each manhole is a minimum required depth of cover above the sewer pipe for

protection from freezing. This will typically by specified by a state or local design code. The

required minimum cover, the required pipe slope, and the ground surface elevations from a map

like that shown at the left, are used to calculate the pipe invert elevations at each manhole. This

calculation is illustrated using Excel formulas in the Excel spreadsheet template presented in the

next section, on page 2 of this article.

Use of Excel Formulas in a Spreadsheet Template to Put it all Together

The Excel spreadsheet template shown at the left contains the design

calculations for a storm sewer line along Maple Avenue, from 8th Street to 4th Street, based on

the manhole layout map shown in the previous section. The column numbers given in the

spreadsheet will be used to discuss the various parts of the spreadsheet calculations.

Columns 1, 2, and 3 contain information from a map that is drawn to scale, like the one in the

previous section and used for this example. Column 4 is the cumulative area draining to the

downstream sections of sewer pipe. In this example, the manhole at 8th Street and Maple

Avenue is assumed to be the uppermost part of this sewer line. Column 3 is an estimate of the

runoff coefficient. Column 3 is the inlet time from the farthest point in the drainage area. For the

first section of sewer pipe, the inlet time is the time of concentration. For subsequent

sections of sewer pipe, the time of concentration is the inlet time to the

first inlet plus pipe flow time to the inlet of the pipe section being designed, as given in column

7.

Column 8 is the calculated design rainfall intensity. The portion of the Excel template shown at

the right is a linear regression of storm duration, δ, vs the inverse of storm intensity, 1/i, using I-

D-F data for the location of interest, to get an equation for storm intensity as a function of storm

duration. This linear regression makes use of the fact that the relationship between i and δ is

typically of the form i = a/(δ + b), where a and b are constants. Column 9 is simply the

calculation, Q = CiA.

Columns 10 through 15 make use of the Manning Equation and Q = VA to determine the

minimum standard pipe diameter and pipe slope needed, as well as a check on V

full

and

Q

full

when the pipe is receiving the design stormwater runoff flow rate.

Columns 16 and 17 are used to calculate the pipe flow time to be used for the time of

concentration calculation in column 7. Columns 18 and 19 give ground surface elevations taken

from the manhole layout map. Columns 20 and 21 calculate the pipe invert elevations. The invert

elevation of the uppermost end of the pipe is taken to be the surface elevation minus the

minimum cover (5' in this case) plus the pipe diameter. The invert elevation at the lower end of

the pipe section is calculated using the pipe slope that was previously determined. Columns 22

and 23 are a check on the depth of cover at each manhole, and column 24 is a listing of the final

design pipe slope.

In order to see the formulas used for each part of the calculation, click here to download this

Excel spreadsheet template (with U.S. units) for storm sewer design calculations.

Click here to download this Excel spreadsheet template (with S.I. units).

References and Image Credits

1. Bengtson, Harlan H., Hydraulic Design of Storm Sewers, Including the Use of Excel, an

online, continuing education course for PDH credit.

2. McCuen, Richard H., Hydrologic Analysis and Design, 2nd Ed, Upper Saddle River, NJ,

1998.

3. Knox County Tennessee, Stormwater Management Manual, section on the Rational Method

Images are from reference #1.

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