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Probability Concepts

in Planning

WATER-RESOURCES ENGINEERING

PREPARED BY:

APIGO, ANGELICA FELIZ

BACAYO, ERWIN

The Annual Flood Series

All projects are planned for the future, and the planner is uncertain

as to the precise conditions to which the works will be subjected.

This uncertainty is countered by making reasonable assumptions and

allowing a generous factor of safety.

The water resources engineer is less certain of the flow that will

affect the project.

Future water requirement, benefits, and costs are all uncertain to

some degree.

The Annual Flood Series

Since the exact sequence of streamflow for future years cannot be

predicted, something must be said about the probable variations in

flow so that the plan can be completed on the basis of a calculated

risk.

A widely used data set for probability analysis is the annual flood

series, the highest instantaneous flow rate at a given gaging station for

each year of the flow record.

A reliable analysis requires that all the data in a series be gathered

under similar conditions.

Recurrence I nterval

The recurrence interval is defined as the average interval in years

between the occurrence of specified magnitude of an equal or larger

flood .

Recurrence interval Tr is given by the weilbull formula is

The mth largest flood in a data series has been equaled or

exceeded mtimes in the period of record.

m

N

T

r

1 +

=

Recurrence I nterval

If an event has a true recurrence interval of Tr years, then the

probability P that it will be equaled or exceeded in any one year is

From the principles of probability, the probability J that at least

one event that equals or exceeds the Tr-year event will occur in

any series of N years is

r

T

P

1

=

( )

N

P J = 1 1

Recurrence I nterval

Table 5.2

There are 4 chances in 10 that the 100-yr floods (or greater) will

occur in any 50-yr period.

Even a 22 percent probability that the 200-yr flood (or greater) might

occur in the 50-yr period.

On the other hand, there are 36 chances in 100 that the 50-yr flood

will not occur in any 50-yr period.

Equation 5.3 (or Table 5.2) may be used to estimate the risk of failure

during the lifetime of a project when using different design criteria.

Recurrence I nterval

If the design flood for a particular project is to have a

recurrence interval much shorter than the period of record.

Its value may be determined by plotting peak flows versus Tr as

computed from Eq.(5.1) and sketching a curve through the plotted

points(Fig. 5.3).

Statistical Methods for Estimating the Frequency of Rare Events

By grouping data (Table 5.1) in class intervals (in the case of 25,000cfs)

the information may be presented graphically as a frequency histogram.

FIGURE5.1

Frequency histogram of annual flood peaks

on the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Statistical Methods for Estimating the Frequency of Rare Events

With an extremely long period of record it would be possible to use a

smaller class interval, and Fig. 5.1 might approach a smooth frequency

distribution such as Fig. 5.4.

FIGURE5.1

Frequency histogram of annual flood peaks

on the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg,

Pennsylvania

Statistical Methods for Estimating the Frequency of Rare Events

The ordinates of Fig. 5.4 are probability density and the abscissas are

the magnitudes of the floods.

The ratio of the area under the curve about any magnitudes X1 to the

area under the entire curve is the probability that X1 will be equaled

or exceeded in any year.

Fisher and Tippett (1928) showed that if one selected the largest event

from each of many large samples, the distribution of these extreme

values was independent of the original distribution and conformed to a

limiting function.

Gumbel suggested that this distribution of extreme values was

appropriate for flood analysis since the annual flood could be assumed

to be the largest of a sample of 365 possible values each year .

Based on the argument that the distribution of floods is unlimited, i.e.,

that there is no physical limit to the maximum flood, he proposed that

the probability p of the occurrence of a values equal to or greater than

any X be expressed as

Where e is the base of Natural logarithms and b is given by

b

e

e P

=1

( ) o

o

45 . 0

7797 . 0

1

+ = X X b

X is the flood magnitude with the probability P , is the arithmetic

average of all floods in the series, and is the standard deviation of the

series computed from

Where N is the number of items in the series(the number of

years of record)

( )

2

1

2

1 (

(

=

N

X X

o

Log Pearson Type III

In 1967, the U.S. Water Resources Council adopted the log Pearson

Type III distribution as a standard for use by federal agencies.

The purpose was to achieve standardization of procedures.

The recommended procedure is to convert the series to logarithms

and compute the mean, standard deviation, and skew coefficient g,

which is

( )

( ) ( ) ( )

3

log

3

2 1

log log

X

N N

X X N

g

o

=

The values of X for various periods are computed from

Where K is selected from Table A-5 (Appendix) for the computed

value of g and the desired return period.

X

K X X

log

log log o + =

Partial Duration Series

The annual series is sometimes criticized on the basis that the

second highest flood in some years will exceed annual floods that

are included in the series.

Partial duration series:

All floods above some arbitrary base value of flow, is sometimes suggested as

a substitute.

The two series give nearly the same recurrence intervals for the larger floods,

but the partial duration series will show higher flow for the shorter

recurrence intervals.

The partial duration series should not be used to determine the frequency of

rare events.

Flood Formulas

Fig. 5.5, where peak flow Qp in cubic feet per second per square mile of

drainage area is plotted against drainage area Ad , a few of the higher

floods seem to define an upper-limit line, or enveloping curve (solid line).

If exponent n is often taken as -0.5,

indicating that flood peaks vary

inversely with the square root of

drainage area.

n

d p

cA Q =

Flood Formulas

Flood Frequency at Points without Streamflow

Few projects are built at the exact spot where a streamflow record has

been obtained. Many projects are built on streams where no record exists.

Several alternative methods have been used to estimate flood frequency in

the absence of streamflow data.

If hourly rainfall records are available, one method is to simulate the

hydrographs of storm runoff for major storms using synthetic unit hydrographs

and adding base flow to obtain an annual flood series that can then be

subjected to a frequency analysis using the Gumbel or log Pearson Type III

distribution.

Regional streamflow analysis

Computer simulation

Regional Streamflow Analysis

In the regional streamflow analysis the flood frequency at an ungaged point

is estimated from data at nearby gaging stations on either the same

catchment or nearby catchments with similar characteristics.

Frequency curves for two gaging station can be identical only when the two

basins are quite similar. The basins should have

geometric similarity in terms of area, shape, slope, and topography;

hydrologic similarity in terms of rainfall, snowfall, soils, and valley storage;

geologic similarity with regard to those items that affect groundwater flow.

Regional Streamflow Analysis

The frequency curves in Fig. 5.6

represent six basins of the same general

size in the Puyallup River basin.

Although the stations are close together, a

considerable divergence of the curves is

evident.

Note that flood magnitudes are expressed in

terms of the ratio to the mean annual flood.

This ratio eliminates some of the differences

caused by differences in basin size and by

rainfall variations between basins.

The characteristics of Eq. (5.4) are such that

the mean annual flood has a recurrence

interval of 2.33 yr.

Figure 5.7 shows the relation between

drainage area and mean annual flood for

the six basins of Fig. 5.6.

Note that one of the points plots off the curve.

This point is known as an outlier, a data point

that possesses some peculiarity that causes it to

diverge substantially from the other data points.

In this case, this basin may have been at a

higher elevation than the others and subjected

to much higher rainfall or it might have had a

relatively small time of concentration that

would result in higher flows.

outlier

Computer Simulation of Ungaged Streams

If flow data and hourly rainfall data for nearby basins with

characteristic similar to the ungaged basin and hourly rainfall data

representative of the ungaged basin are available, computer

simulation (Sec. 3.21) is possible.

By simulation, an entire frequency series may be generated and a

frequency curve constructed.

The choice of methods for frequency analysis of floods on ungaged

basins depends on what type of data is available. Budgetary

considerations may also govern.

Rainfall Frequency

Rainfall Frequency

The data set consists of the

maximum rainfall amount for the

given duration for each year over

the period of record.

Employ either the Gumbel or log

Person Type III distribution.

Data sets are combined into a

family of curves (IDF curves, Fig

5.8).

Useful as providing information

applicable to the rational formula.

Rainfall Frequency

Rainfall Maps and Formulas

rainfall intensity maps

Based on analysis of all available recording gage records.

The maps cover a range of durations from 30 min to 24 hr and

frequencies from 1 to 100 yr.

The maps are reliable in areas of negligible relief but may be

inaccurate in mountainous areas.

The relation between rainfall intensity i and duration tR has

often been expressed by formulas such as

Where the constants k and n are regional characteristics.

Actually only the 1- and 24-hr maps are constructed from observed

data, the others being interpolated by relationships presented in the

report.

If these data plot as a straight line, k is the intensity where tR is unity

and n is the slope of the line.

n

R

t

k

i =

Conditional or J oint Probability

If two events are entirely independent (unrelated in cause) and their

probabilities of occurrence are P

1

and P

2

, respectively, the probability

that they will occur at the same time is P

1

P

2

. Since both P

1

and P

2

are

less than 1, the probability of their joint occurrence is less than the

probability of either event independently.

Because most hydrologic events are not strictly independent, it is

usually necessary to solve problems of joint frequency by direct

analysis rather than by use of the simple product rule

Figure 5.10 illustrates a joint frequency analysis applied to the problem of

the simultaneous flooding of two streams above their junction.

Curves A and B of the figure are the separate frequency curves of

the two streams.

Curve C is a frequency curve for the sum of the two flows

computed on the assumption of complete dependence.

Curve D assumes complete independence so that the probability

of any two flows occurring simultaneously is the product of the

probability that they will occur independently.

Curve E is obtained by adding the flows that actually occurred at

the same time and performing a conventional frequency analysis

on the sums.

Probable Maximum Floods

Probable maximum floods

Since about 1940, the spillways

of many major dams have been

designed to discharge the

probable maximum flood.

The magnitude of this flood is

determined by meteorologic

estimate of the physical limit of

rainfall over the drainage basin.

(U.S. National Weather Service; Crops of Engineers)

Drought

Drought is often defined in terms of a fixed period of time with less

than some minimum amount of rainfall.

If drought is defined in terms of inadequate rainfall for crop

production, most of the western United States has a drought every

year, since rainless summers are common in a much of the West.

In general terms a drought is a lack of water for some purpose.

More specific definitions are possible only when local conditions

are specified.

Duration Curves

flow-duration curve

The natural streamfiow characteristics of a

river are frequently summarized in a flow

duration curve.

Such a curve (Fig. 5.12) shows the

percentage of time that flow is equal to or

less than various rates during the period

of study.

If a project for diversion without storage is

under study, the time unit should be the

day so that absolute minimum flows will

be indicated.

Fig. 5.13 compares the Cherry Creek and

Hat Creek duration curve

Cherry Creek offers no chance of

successful development without provision

for storage to provide water during periods

of low natural flow.

Hat Creek could, however, provide at least

100 cfs on a continuous basis for direct

diversion.

Storage would be required on both streams to meet a demand of

140 cfs, but the volume required for Hat Creek (ABC) is much less

than for Cherry Creek (EBD).

Cherry Creek produces considerably more runoff than Hat Creek

and with proper storage facilities could provide a much higher

yield.

The exact storage requirements are dependent on the actual

sequence of flow and cannot be accurately estimated from

duration curves.

Drought Frequency

If drought can be defined in specific

terms for a particular project,

drought frequency can be analyzed

in the same manner as flood

frequency. It is also possible to

prepare generalized frequency

curves of low flow (Fig. 5.14).

Example (p.158)

For example, a small water-supply project requiring 0.9 cfs

(0.025 m

3

/s) might pump directly from the stream of Fig.

5.14.

Once in 4 yr, flow would be inadequate to meet the demand (point

A in Fig. 5.14), but if storage were provided for (0.9-0.3) cfs-day =

0.6 sfd = 1.2 acre-ft = 390,000 gal, a shortage would occur only

once every 10 yr.

Synthetic Streamflow

1) It is often important to know something of the probability of

floods or droughts more severe than anything observed on a

stream.

2) Because of the difficulty of defining a drought (Sec. 5.11) and

because of the few cases of long-period drought in a short

record, the procedures of Sec. 5.13 are really not adequate for

defining recurrence intervals equal to or greater than the period

of record.

3) On the assumption that streamflow is essentially a random

variable, it is possible to develop a synthetic flow record by

statistical methods.

A random series may be generated by the equation

where q

i

and q

i+1

are the flows in the ith and (i + l)th months from the start of

the synthetic sequence

q

j

and q

j+l

are the mean monthly flows in theyth and (j + 1)th month of the

annual cycle, and b

j

, is the regression coefficient for estimating flows in the (j

+ l)th month from the flows in the jth month.

and r

j

, is the correlation coefficient between flows in the jth and (j + l)th

months.

2

1

2

1 1 1

1

j j i j i j j i

r t q q b q q + + =

+ + +

Stochastic methods may be employed to generate a synthetic

record of rainfall, which could be transformed to streamflow by

an appropriate method.

Pattison demonstrated the feasibility of using a Markov

process to generated a sequence of rainfall data.

Franz employed multivariate normal analysis to generate

compatible hourly data at several rainfall stations.

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