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TOPIC 1:

INTRODUCTION TO
HYDROLOGY
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Learning Outcomes
Able to illustrate and explain the hydrological cycle (CO1-PO3)
Able to identify and solve hydrological problems using water budget equation (CO1-
PO3)

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Overview
1.1 Hydrology
1.2 Engineering hydrology
1.3 Hydrological cycle
1.4 Catchment area
1.5 Water budget equation
1.6 Units of measurement
1.7 Global Water Budget
1.8 Applications in engineering

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Hydrology
The science of water.
Deals with the occurrence, circulation and distribution of water on the earth and
earths atmosphere.
Concerned with the water in streams and lakes, rainfall and snowfall, snow and ice on
the land and water occurring below the earths surface in the pores of the soil and
rocks.

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Engineering hydrology
Estimation of water resources.
The study of processes such as precipitation, runoff, evapotranspiration and their
interactions.
The study of problems such as floods and droughts, and strategies to combat them.

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What is Hydrological cycle
It describes the continuous process of water movement in various forms, phases and
places between atmosphere, the land and the oceans.
A complex process without beginning or ending.
No water gained or lost but quantity available to user may fluctuate due to variations
of source and problems encountered during delivery.

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Hydrological cycle schematic
diagram

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Hydrological cycle schematic
diagram

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Hydrological cycle
Water in the oceans evaporate due to the heat energy.
The water vapour moves upwards and forms cloud.
Much of the clouds condense and fall back to the oceans again as rain, a part of the
clouds is driven to the land by the winds.
On the land, the clouds condense and precipitate onto the land as rain, snow, hail,
sleet etc.
Some of the precipitation may evaporate back to the atmosphere even while falling.
Another may be intercepted by vegetation, structures and other such surface
modifications where it may either evaporate back to the atmosphere or infiltrate to the
ground surface.

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Hydrological cycle
Through transpiration the vegetation sends parts of the water from under ground back
to the atmosphere.
Precipitation that hits the ground and moves through a network of gullies, streams and
rivers to reach the oceans is known as runoff.
Once it enters a stream channel, it becomes stream flow and flows back to the
oceans.

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Main components of hydrological
cycle.
Precipitation
Evaporation
Evapotranspiration
Infiltration
Runoff (surface runoff, streamflow runoff, baseflow etc)

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Catchment area
A portion of the earths surface that collects runoff and concentrates it at the furthest
downstream, known as the catchment outlet.
Also known as drainage area, drainage basin, watershed or basin.
Separated from another catchment by a ridge called divide.
The areal extend of the catchment is obtained by tracing the ridge on a topographic
map to delineate the catchment and measuring the area by planimeter.

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Catchment area

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Catchment area

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Catchment area

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Catchment area

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Water budget equation
Quantities of water going through various, individual paths of the hydrological cycle
can be described by the continuity equation known as water budget equation or
hydrological equation.
Also called water balance is the accounting of water for a particular catchment.

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Water budget equation
For a given area, applying the continuity equation, water budget can be written as
below for a given time interval.

Mass inflow - Mass outflow Change in the mass storage


Inflow, I: precipitation rainfall, snow, sleet etc
Outflow, O: runoff, evaporation, infiltration etc

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Water budget equation
Re-writing the water budget,

S
I-O
t
I1 I 2 O1 O2 S1 S 2
2 2 t

Where subscripts 1 and 2 refer to values of the quantities at start and end of time
interval.

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Water budget equation
Water budget can also be written in terms of surface & groundwater,

S P E T G R
S = change in storage
P = precipitation
E = evaporation
T = transpiration
G = groundwater
R = surface runoff

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Water budget equation
If there is no change in storage in a given time span, then the rainfall-runoff relationship
will be,
R PL
Where L = losses = water loss from runoff due to infiltration, evaporation, transpiration
and surface storage.
Rainfall-runoff coefficient (The percentage of rainfall that appears as stormwater run-off
from a surface),

R
C
P

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Units of measurement
In hydrological calculations, the volumes are often expressed as average depths over
the catchment area.
E.g. if the annual stream flow from a 10 km2 catchment is 107 m3,

10 7
1m 100cm
10 10 6

Rainfall, evaporation and often runoff volumes are expressed in unit depths over the
catchment.

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Commonly used hydrological data
and their units
Data Characteristics Units of measurement
Precipitation Depth cm or mm
Intensity cm/h or mm/h
Duration Hours
Evaporation Rate cm/ day, cm/ month, cm/ year
Infiltration Rate cm/ hour
Depth cm or mm
Runoff Discharge m3/s or cumecs
Volume hectare-cm or m3
Equivalent depth Equivalent cm over catchment
area

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Example 1.1
The storage in a river at a particular time is 20x103 m3. At that
time, the recorded inflow and outflow of the reach are 10.0 m3/s
and 15.0 m3/s. An hour later the inflow is 15.0 m3/s and the
outflow is 16.0 m3/s. Calculate the change of storage and the
new storage of the reach at the end of one hour.

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Solution
S1 20 10 3 m 3
I1 10 m 3 / s
O1 15m 3 / s
t 1hour 3600 s
I 2 15m 3 / s
O2 16 m 3 / s
S ?
S 2 ?

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I1 I 2 O1 O2 S

2 2 t
10 15 3 15 16 3
m /s m /s
2 2
3m 3 / s
3m 3 / s t S
3m 3 / s 3600 s
10,800 m 3

S 2 S1 S
S 2 S S1
10,8000 20 10 3
9,200 m 3
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Example 1.2
A lake had a water surface elevation of 100.0 m above the datum at a beginning of a
certain month. In that month, the lake received an average inflow of 5.0 m3/s from a
surface runoff sources. In the same period, the outflow from the lake had an average
value of 5.5 m3/s. Further that month, the lake received a rainfall of 135 mm and the
evaporation from the lake surface was estimated to be 60 mm. The average surface
area of the lake was 45 km2. Write the water budget equation for the lake and
calculate the new water surface elevation of the lake at the end of the month. Assume
there is no contribution to or from the groundwater storage.

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Solution
Z1 100 m
I1 5.0m 3 / s
O1 5.5m 3 / s
P 135 mm
E 60 mm
A 45km 2
G0
t 1month 1 30 24 3600 2.592 10 6 s
Z2 ?

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I1 5.0m 3 / s 2.592 10 6 s 12.96 10 6 m 3
O1 5.5m 3 / s 2.592 10 6 s 14.256 10 6 m 3
I 2 P 0.135 m 45 10 6 m 2 6.075 10 6 m 3
O2 E 0.06 m 45 10 6 m 2 2.7 10 6 m 3

I T I1 I 2 19.035 10 6 m 3
OT O1 O2 16.956 10 6 m 3

S I O
19.035 10 6 m 3 16.956 10 6 m 3
2.079 10 6 m 3

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A Z S
S
Z
A
2.079 10 6 m 3

45 10 6 m 2
0.0462 m

Z 2 Z1 Z
Z 2 Z Z1
0.0462 100
100 .0462 m
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Example 1.3
In a given year, a catchment with an area of 2000 km2 received 1500 mm of rainfall.
The average rate of flow in the river draining the area was 30 m3/s. Estimate the
amount of water loss due to the combined effects of evaporation, transpiration and
infiltration to groundwater flow. Calculate the runoff coefficient of the area.

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Solution
t 1 year 365 86400 s
A 2000 km 2000 10 m
2 6 2

P 1500 mm
R 30 m / s
3

L?
C ?

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R 30 m 3 / s
3
30 m / s
365 86,400 s
2000 10 m
6 2

0.473m

L P R 1.5 0.473 1.027 m

R 0.473
C 0.315
P 1 .5
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Example 1.4
Rainfall intensity 100 mm/h fell on a catchment with area 2.5 km2 for 6 hours. Measured
runoff during this period was recorded to be 720 000 m3. Determine the amount of
water lost from this total 6 hours rainfall.

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Solution
P 100 mm / h
A 2.5km 2

t 6hours
R 720,000 m 3

L?

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P 0.1mm / h 6hr 2.5 10 m 1.5 10 m 6 2 6 3

L PR
1.5 10 6 m 3 720,000 m 3
0.78m 3

3
0.78m

6hr 2.5 10 m
6 2

0.052 m / h

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Example 1.5
The total global water supply is estimated to be 1.36 x 109 km3. Convert these quantities
of water into km2-m, m3, liters and cubic feet.

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1.36 10 9 km 3 1.36 10 9 km 3 10 3 m km 2
1.36 1012 km 2 m
1.36 10 10 m 9 9 3

1.36 10 m 18 3

1.36 1018 10 3 l
1.36 10 21 l
1.36 10 3.281 ft18 3 3

4.803 10 19
ft 3

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Global Water Budget
Estimated total quantity of water in the world 1386 M km3.
96.5% of this water is contained in the oceans as saline water.
Available fresh water 35.0 Mkm3
Liquid and fresh 10.6M km3
Frozen 24.4M km3

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Estimated world water quantities (source: UNESCO, 1975)

Item Area Volume Percent total water Percent fresh water


(M km2) (M km3)
Oceans 361.3 1338.0 96.5 -
Groundwater
- Fresh 134.8 10.530 0.76 30.1
- Saline 134.8 12.870 0.93 -
Soil moisture 82.0 0.0165 0.0012 0.05
Polar ice 16.0 24.0235 1.7 68.6
Other ice & snow 0.3 0.3406 0.025 1.0
Lakes
- Fresh 1.2 0.0910 0.007 0.26
- Saline 0.8 0.0854 0.006 -
Marshes 2.7 0.01147 0.0008 0.03
Rivers 148.8 0.00212 0.0002 0.006
Biological water 510.0 0.00112 0.0001 0.003
Atmospheric water 510.0 0.01290 0.001 0.004
Total
- All kinds of water 510.0 1386.0 100.0
- Fresh water 148.8 35.0 2.5 100.0

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Global annual water balance (source: UNESCO, 1975)

Item Ocean Land


Area (M km2) 361.30 148.8
Precipitation (km3/ year) 458,000 119,000
(mm/ year) 1270 800

Evaporation (km3/ year) 505,000 72,000


(mm/ year) 1400 484

Runoff to ocean
-Rivers (km3/ year) 44,700
-Groundwater (km3/ year) 2,200
Total runoff (km3/ year) 47,000
(mm/ year) 316

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Applications in engineering
Greatest application in the design and operation of water resources engineering
projects, e.g.
Irrigation
Water supply
Flood control
Water power
navigation

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Applications in engineering
Necessary for the following factors:
The capacity of storage structures such as reservoirs.
The magnitude of flood flows to enable safe disposal of the excess flow.
The minimum flow and quantity of flow available at various seasons.
The interaction of the flood wave and hydraulic structures, such as levees, reservoirs, barrages
and bridges.

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Applications in engineering
Improper assessment can cause hydrological failures such as;
Overtopping and consequent failure of an earthen dam due to an inadequate spillway
capacity
Failure of bridges and culverts due to excess flood flow
Inability of a large reservoir to fill up with water due to overestimation of the stream flow

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Overtopping
Overtopping
and
consequent
failure of an
earthen dam
due to an
inadequate
spillway
capacity

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Bridge
failures
Due to flood

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Culvert
failure
Due to flood

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Sources of data
Data normally required in hydrological studies;
Weather record temperature, humidity and wind velocity
Precipitation data
Stream flow records
Evaporation and evapotranspiration data
Infiltration characteristics of the study area
Soils of the area
Land use and land cover
Groundwater characteristics
Water quality data
Physical and geological characteristics of the area

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Why the study of hydrology is important to engineering? Give
examples.
Where can you acquire hydrological data and when do you
need it?

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END OF TOPIC 1
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