HYDROGRAPHS
If we will consider fairly uniformly distributed a duration rainfall over a catchment, thus produced runoff
at the stream outlet will have a peculiar characteristics and is represented by a discharge vs time curve
called as Hydrographs which also include the rainfall.
After a series of infiltration losses and infiltration losses, the rainfall excess reaches the stream through
overland flow or from channel flow. The flow doesn’t reach the basin outlet instantly because of storage
being built up as in the form of overland flow or channel flow. Thus, an immediate effect of the rainfall
cannot be obtained as in the form of discharge at the outlet just even after the cessation (stoppage) of the
rainfall. However, a peak flow is observed at the outlet after certain time of the start of the rainfall. The
flow is called peak flow whereas the time after the rainfall for the peak flow is called time lag. This time
lag for the peak flow and peak flow as well depends upon the characteristics of basin and rainfall.
After the stoppage of the rainfall, the building up of storage starts to reduce in the catchment. Thus, a time
comes when the discharge at the outlet decreases and finally to a normal level as shown.
This typical type of the curve as explained above is called a Storm Hydrograph.
Factors Affecting Runoff Hydrographs




Shape of the Basin: More the semicircular shape is attained by the catchment will give the high
pea value and narrow will be the hydrographs while if the shape is elongated longer will be the
time taken to get concentrated at the basin outlet, lesser is the discharge so the base of the
hydrographs also become broader. [As previously discussed topics in Streamflow]
Size of the Basin: For smaller basin overland flow is predominant than channel flow. Hence, in
these basins land use and intensity of rainfall plays a direct role in peak flow and deciding
hydrographs nature. However, these factors are not important in larger basins where channel flow
is predominant.
The peak discharge and time lag (time for occurrence of peak flow) is proportionate to A m where A
is the catchment area and m is taken to be 0.2.
Drainage Density: Higher the drainage density of the catchment, better will be the drainage of the
catchment and finally to the basin outlet. Drainage density is the measure of the response of the
catchment to the flow by denoting the length of the tributaries per unit area of the catchment. Thus
a quick disposal of the excess rainfall is observed through the stream channel to the basin outlet
resulting observation of peak flow in small time.
Land Use: Vegetative cover (forest) in the catchment hugely reduces the overland flow by
increasing infiltration and storage capacity. Thus, the vegetal cover reduces the peak flow.
However, the urbanization and development of human settlement to the catchment conversely
increase the imperviousness of the surface areas increasing peak flow and also allowing flow to
reach quickly to the outlet.
Prepared By: Er. Niraj Bohara
pg. 1
days from the peak flow point. The curve AB shows the rising limb which totally depends upon the basin(steepness. Prepared By: Er. where A is in Km2 Thus formed line forms the base for the Direct Runoff Hydrograph. The increasing with time at initial stage is slow due to initial losses and high infiltration losses. hydrograph has two part namely direct runoff hydrograph and base flow as shown. the discharge at the outlet reduces with time. The ordinates of the Storm Hydrograph is subtracted from this ordinate to produce DirectRunoff Hydrograph.Two points namely A and B are joined by a straight line where A is the point of initial part of the hydrograph where slope changes rapidly and B is the point N. Thus separated hydrograph from the base flow is called DirectRunoff Hydrograph. drainage density) as well as rainfall characteristics(intensity as well as duration) Crest Segment: It consists of peak flow and occurs when runoff from various parts of the catchment contribute simultaneously to achieve the maximum flow. And thus formed curve is Regression Limb (CD) Stream flow at the basin outlet is composed of direct runoff (runoff due to rainfall) and base flow (ground inflow).2 days. ϕ index and runoff. However. However with time. there is gradual reduction of the storage from the catchment. The steepness of the catchment and channel allows the quick disposal of runoff and hence a steep recession of discharge is observed at the outlet.Engineering Hydrology Components of RunoffHydrograph    Rising Limb: With rainfall discharge in the outlet is increasing. And hence developed hydrograph is the direct measure of the flow at the basin outlet due to the excess rainfall. So. the gradual building up of storage at the stream outlet goes on and hence steep slope of discharge increment with time is observed. the base flow has to be separated from the hydrograph. if we have to study the relationship between rainfall. Rainfall characteristics as well as drainage characteristics of catchment are the factors affecting this segment Regression Limb: After the cessation of rainfall. excess rainfall. After the crest segment. Usually for the larger basins. N= 0.83 A0. 2 . these segment occur after the cessation of the rainfall. Methods of BaseFlow Separation  Method I. Niraj Bohara pg.
3 . If we consider an elementary strip of the direct runoff hydrograph gives the volume of the runoff at the specified small time dt. Segment AC and CB represents Base Flow  /Method III. This also allows us to calculate ϕ index. This point is joined to point B.The flow recession curve after the end of the flood water is extended backwards till it meets the ordinate from the peak inflection point at F. Niraj Bohara pg. the total amount of Direct Runoff always equals total effective rainfall. Prepared By: Er. Thus intersected point is joined to point A with the help of smooth curve Effective Rainfall Effective Rainfall is the total amount of precipitation that gives total amount of surface runoff only.The base flow curve existing prior to the commencement of the surface runoff is extended till it intersects the ordinate drawn at the peak. And hence.Engineering Hydrology  Method II.
total volume due ¿ excess rainfall=∫ Q . dt Total Area of the Direct Runoff Hydrograph And hence. the depth of the excess Rainfall = (Area of the Direct Runoff Hydrograph)/Area of the drainage basin Excess Rainfall = Rainfall – Losses Unit Hydrograph A unit hydrograph for a given duration of rainfall is defined as direct runoff produced due to 1cm uniform depth effective rainfall in the given duration of the rainfall over the given basin is known as unit hydrograph which is denoted as Dhr unit hydrographs.Engineering Hydrology Volume of small runoff =Q . dt=Small area of thehydrograph where Q=arbitrary discharge Q of the Direct Runoff Hydrograph So . As from above figure it is clear that R cm excess rainfall of D hrs duration give an area of ∫ Q . 4 . dt Then. Niraj Bohara pg. dt And thus the ordinates of Direct Runoff Hydrograph can be expressed as 6h Unit Hydrograph ∫ Q/ R . 1cm excess rainfall of same Dhrs duration give an area of 1/ R∫ Q . dt Prepared By: Er.
Precipitation is considered only due to rain The catchment should not have large storage lakes and ponds which would affect the Unit Hydrograph. (Linear Variance) Uses of Unit Hydrograph:  The development of flood hydrographs for extreme rainfall magnitudes for the use in design of hydraulic structures. Niraj Bohara pg. area of the catchment for the use of Unit hydrograph because for these smaller basin a number of factors affect the rainfallrunoff relationship.Engineering Hydrology As Q/R.The Direct Runoff Hydrograph for a given Effective Rainfall in a catchment is always the same of irrespective of when it occurs. Prepared By: Er. if we desire to calculate output for an input of x 2 ( t )=r∗x1 ( t ) Then . 5 . Estimation of flood flow records based on rainfall records and Development of flood forecasting and warning system based on rainfall. y 2 ( t )=r∗y 1 ( t ) So. then. Limitations:   Unit hydrograph assume uniform distribution of rainfall over the catchment which is usually difficult condition to achieve The intensity also is considered to be constant throughout the duration of the rainfall The unit hydrograph for a larger basin over than 5000 Km 2 should be divided into subbasins for further workout as it’s the upper limit for the use of unit hydrograph as rainfall for larger basins in different storms has different center and thus produces different Direct Runoff Hydrograph (DRH) even with a same magnitude and duration rainfall. Principle of superposition and proportionality is held in hydrographs. 1 cm rainfall of same duration has ordinates of Q(t) /P Each ordinates are divided with excess rainfall. where Q is the ordinate of Direct Runoff Hydrograph of D –hrs duration of Rexcess rainfall And Q/R will be the ordinate of unit hydrograph of Dhrs duration with 1 cm excess rainfall. for an input of x 1 ( t )+ x 2 ( t ) output of y 1 ( t ) + y 2 ( t ) is expected Similarly. Assumptions:  Uniform distribution of rainfall throughout the catchment The uniform intensity of rainfall over that duration Time Invariance. There is a lower limit of 200 ha. Constant base time is assumed for a given same duration of rainfall irrespective of the intensity and the depth. Linear Response For an input of x 1 ( t ) output of y 1 ( t ) For an input of x 2 ( t ) output of y 2 (t ) Then. output expected would be . for P excess rainfall if Q(t) are discharges ordinates for Dhour duration direct runoff hydrograph.
For each of these storms hydrographs for these are drawn by the help of the gauges section of the river.9 to 1.Engineering Hydrology Unit hydrograph linear variance principle allows us to produce a Direct Runoff Hydrograph even for the complex type of rainfall having similar duration as of unit hydrograph. Unit hydrographs are constructed by following these procedures: a) Base flow is separated by using appropriate methods b) Area under Direct. Preparation of Unit Hydrograph from an Isolated Storm (No Complex Rainfall) The storms that have approximately of same duration [0.1 D] are taken. 2*u3. Prepared By: Er. Niraj Bohara pg. As be.Runoff Hydrograph (Volume of Direct runoff ) is calculated c) Equivalent effective rainfall (excess rainfall) is calculated by: Excess Rainfall= Direct runoff volume Area of the catchment d) Each ordinate of the Direct runoff hydrograph is divided by the excess rainfall to obtain the ordinates of unit hydrograph for these storms. Application of Unit Hydrograph to find out the Hydrograph from Complex storm. 6 . 2*u2. u3…… un discharge Then 2 cm excess rainfall will produce 2*u1. u2. initial losses). an excess rainfall is calculated. If 1cm excess rainfall gives u1. The method is based upon the superposition of the unit hydrograph by lagging with the time of the occurrence of the next rainfall as shown in figure. Unitary Method held in Unit Hydrograph: If ordinates of Dh unit hydrograph is known. At first. evaporation losses. complex storm occurring simultaneously are taken of same duration. After deducting different losses (like infiltration.…… 2*un discharges provided that the duration of 2cm excess rainfall is also Dhours. then it is possible to calculate the ordinates of Direct Runoff Hydrograph of any excess rainfall by simple unitary methods.
R1* u4. R1*u2+R2*u1 t= 12 hrs: R1*u3+R2*u2 t= 16 hrs: R1*u4+R2*u3 t= 20 hrs: R1*u5+R2*u4 Fig . Niraj Bohara hydrograph pg. 12. 8. R1* u2. R1*u3. If we consider R2 cm to be isolated rainfall. R2* u4. R1*u1+0 t= 8 hrs. 28 hrs will be R2*u1. the unit hydrograph for 4hrs will start from t=0 hrs and the direct runoff hydrograph ordinates for this R1 cm excess rainfall will be: at time t=4. R2*u3. R2*u5 and R2*u6 respectively as shown. 7 . 16. 24. However.1 If we consider R1 cm to be isolated rainfall. 18. Fig . method of superposition is applied between R1 cm Direct runoff hydrograph and R2 cm Direct Runoff Hydrograph. 12.3 t= 24 hrs: R1*u6+R2*u5 t= 28 hrs: 0+R2*u6 Thus. R2* u2. 8. 18.e. 12. u3. 16. If we have a unit hydrograph of 4hrs duration i. 16. these rainfall do not occur in isolation. Prepared By: Er. the unit hydrograph for 4hrs will start from t=4 hrs (lagging of hydrograph by 4 hrs) and the direct runoff hydrograph ordinates for this R2 cm excess rainfall will be: Fig . hydrograph of 1cm excess rainfall of 4hrs duration (also known as 4hUH ) The ordinates of the unit hydrograph at time t=4. R1*u5 and R1* u6 respectively as shown.Engineering Hydrology R1 cm of 4 hrs duration and R2 cm of 4hrs duration occurring in t=0 hrs and t= 4hrs as shown in the figure. u4.2 at time t= 8. u5 and u6 as shown. obtained ordinates are the direct runoff for the complex rainfall R1 and R2 occurring simultaneously. So. 24hrs be u1. 24 hrs will be R1*u1. At t=4 hrs. u2. 18.
8 . Niraj Bohara pg.Engineering Hydrology Prepared By: Er.
In this. Niraj Bohara pg. u5 and u6 as If we follow the above section procedure for R1 and R2 cm rainfall and unit hydrograph then. we will obtain the direct runoff hydrograph due to the same complex rainfall as fig. 9 . 1 u3. The ordinates of the DRH curve for complex rainfall are known as At t=4 hrs. 4 Fig . 24hrs be u1. 8. Q2 t= 12 hrs: Q3 t= 16 hrs: Q4 t= 20 hrs: Q5 t= 24 hrs: Q6 t= 28 hrs: Q7 from fig. 2 and fig. 18. R1*u1+0= Q1 t= 8 hrs. u1 could be calculated. we will have direct runoff hydrograph due to the complex rainfall of same duration occurring simultaneously and will calculate unit hydrograph of the given duration of rainfall. u2 … u6 are unknown: From equation of t= 4 hrs.4 In this we assume a unit hydrograph of the complex rainfall. We will assume the hydrograph as for duration that of the ordinates of the unit at time t=4.Engineering Hydrology Derivation of Unit Hydrograph from Complex Rainfall It is actually the opposite of the above followed procedure where we produced direct runoff hydrograph of complex rainfall from known unit hydrograph. u1. shown in fig. R1*u2+R2*u1= Q2 t= 12 hrs: R1*u3+R2*u2= Q3 t= 16 hrs: R1*u4+R2*u3= Q4 t= 20 hrs: R1*u5+R2*u4= Q5 t= 24 hrs: R1*u6+R2*u5= Q6 t= 28 hrs: 0+R2*u6=Q7 Since. all the ordinates of the unit hydrograph are calculated. From equation of t= 8 hrs. u2. now u2 could be calculated. 12. Q1 t= 8 hrs. 16. Similarly. 3 At t=4 hrs. Derivations of Unit Hydrograph of Different Durations: If a Dh Unit Hydrograph is available and we desire to obtain a a*D –h Unit Hydrograph such that Prepared By: Er. u4.
hr Direct Runoff Hydrograph At Time 1D 2D 3D 4D 5D 6D 7D 8D From excess rainfall 1cm of t=0 u1 u2 u3 u4 u5 u6 0 0 From t=D Lagged by D hr From t=2D Lagged by 2D hr Total ordinates of 3cm 3D hr DRH 1cm 3D hr Unit Hydrograph 0 u1 u2 u3 u4 u5 u6 0 0 0 u1 u2 u3 u4 u5 u6 u1 u1+ u2 u1 +u2+ u3 u2 +u3+ u4 u3 +u4+ u5 u4 +u5+ u6 u5+ u6 u6 u1/3 (u1+ u2)/3 (u1 +u2+ u3)/3 (u2 +u3+ u4)/3 (u3 +u4+ u5)/3 (u4 +u5+ u6)/3 (u5+ u6)/3 (u6)/3 Summation Curve Prepared By: Er.Engineering Hydrology a= positive integer value. Niraj Bohara pg. 10 . Here. we desire to synthesize 3*D hrs unit hydrograph from Dhr unit hydrograph. Thus produced ordinates of Direct Runoff Hydrograph is divided by a cm to produce the ordinates of aDhr duration unit hydrograph. of unit hydrograph however would yield Direct Runoff Hydrograph of a cm excess rainfall of a*D hr duration. The ordinates of the 3 cm 3D. We have to superimpose 3 unit hydrographs of Dhr duration and lagging unit hydrographs by D hrs. Thus superimposed unit hydrographs will yield 3cm 3*D hr Direct Runoff Hydrograph. The superposition of the a nos. it is easily completed by superposing a numbers of unit hydrograph by lagging each unit hydrograph by D durations.
SCurve ordinate of 2D time= SCurve ordinate of 1D time+ Ordinate of Unt Hydrograph of 2D time SCurve ordinate of 3D time= SCurve ordinate of 2D time+ Ordinate of Unt Hydrograph of 3D time Thus. At Time Unit Hydrograph SCurve Ordinate t=1D u1 u1 S(1D) t= 2D u2 u2+u1 S(2D)=S(1D)+u(2D) t= 3D u3 u3+u2+u1 S(3D)=S(2D)+u(3D) t= 4D u4 u4+u3+u2+u1 S(4D)= S(3D)+u(4D) t=5D u5 u5+u4+u3+u2+u1 S(5D)= S(4D)+u(5D) In Conclusion. where t= any time. ∴ S(t)= u(t)+S(tD). D= Duration of given Unit Hydrograph Prepared By: Er. The SCuve of Dduration is defined as the direct runoff hydrograph due to 1cm rainfall of D duration occuring infinitely with uniform intensity (1/D cm/hr). 11 . Since.Engineering Hydrology If we desire to synthesize m*D hrs duration unit hydrograph such that m is in fraction from Dhrs duration unit hydrograph then a different technique nown as the Scurve method is adopted. Niraj Bohara pg. the unit hydrograph is lagged by Dhrs infinite time yielding a hydrograph with following ordinates as shown. the total rainfall will be unknown we will have the intensity of Scurve known (1/D cm/hr) Now.
Now. The two Dhr Scurve is taken.e. the resulting ordinates denote a hydrograph due to an Excess Rainfall of 1 cm and of duration Th. Prepared By: Er. i. it is possible to calculate a Thr Unit hydrograph even if T/D is not integer (i. i.e fractional value). if the ordinate differences of A and B.e. a Th unit hydrograph. One of the Dhr Scurve is made to lag by Thours. Thus produced Direct Runoff Hydrograph of Thr duration with intensity of 1/D cm/hr Excess Rainfall = 1/D cm/hr *T hr = T/D cm Hence.SB) are divided by T/D .hours duration of Intensity = 1/D cm/hr (same as that of Dhr Summation Curve). (SA.Engineering Hydrology Derivation of a Thr Unit Hydrograph from SCurve If a Dhr Scurve is known. Niraj Bohara pg. the two Dhr Scurve ordinates are substracted to produce a Direct Runoff Hydrograph of T. 12 .