Estimation of Runoff Peak Flow by El-Hames Empirical Method for Ungauged Catchments: A Case Study Iranshahr

Document Type : Research Article


1 Young Researchers and Elite Club, Islamshahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Islamshahr, Iran

2 Department of civil engineering, environmental science research center, Islamshahr branch, Islamic Azad University, Islamshahr, Iran

3 Department of Technical and Engineering, Islamshahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


In this paper, the El-Hames empirical method was used to determine the peak runoff flow in Iranshahr catchment. The El-Hames method is based on morphological parameters and SCS Curve Number of the studied area. The implementing was processed by collecting the required data including soil type and vegetation cover, land use maps, digital elevation model and satellite images from the associated institutions such as Iran Water Resources Management Company (IWRM) and Iran Weather Organization. Then the all data was integrated by using GIS in order to create different layers of required information. The generated layers were applied to determine the morphological parameters through SCS method and to develop the CN map of the study area. Afterward, daily rainfall statistics over the study catchment obtained from synoptic and rain-gauge stations were estimated for 2 to 200 year return periods. Finally, the developed curve number map and the rainfall statistics were imported in the El-Hames formula to estimate the maximum flood peak flow for return periods corresponding to flood events and the hydrographic graphs were plotted. This paper also assessed the validity of El-Hames formula to determine its accuracy. The obtained results of CE and RMSE with value of respectively, 0.97 and 55.95cms prove the accuracy of applied model. Results of this paper can be used as a basis for design and implementation of plans for sustainable development of water resources over the study area and to provide viable strategies for controlling floods and dealing with water crises in this region.


Sharma, K. D., and Murthy, J. S. R. (1998). A practical approach to rainfall-runoff modeling in arid zone drainage basins. Hydrological sciences journal, 43(3), 331-348.
Lange, J., and Leibundgut, C. (2000). Non-calibrated arid zone rainfall-runoff modeling. IAHS PUBLICATION, 45-52.
Pilgrim, D. H., Chapman, T. G., and Doran, D. G. (1988). Problems of rainfall-runoff modeling in arid and semiarid regions. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 33(4), 379-400.
Elā€Hames, A. S., and Richards, K. S. (1998). An integrated, physically based model for arid region flash flood prediction capable of simulating dynamic transmission loss. Hydrological Processes, 12(8), 1219-1232.
Jothityangkoon, C., Sivapalan, M., and Farmer, D. L. (2001). Process controls of water balance variability in a large semi-arid catchment: downward approach to hydrological model development. Journal of Hydrology, 254(1-4), 174-198.
Foody, G. M., Ghoneim, E. M., and Arnell, N. W. (2004). Predicting locations sensitive to flash flooding in an arid environment. Journal of Hydrology, 292(1-4), 48-58.
Bracken, L. J., Cox, N. J., and Shannon, J. (2008). The relationship between rainfall inputs and flood generation in south–east Spain. Hydrological Processes: An International Journal, 22(5), 683-696.
McIntyre, N., and Al-Qurashi, A. (2009). Performance of ten rainfall–runoff models applied to an arid catchment in Oman. Environmental Modeling and Software, 24(6), 726-738.
Bhatt, V. K., and Tiwari, A. K. (2008). Estimation of peak stream flows through channel geometry. Hydrological sciences journal, 53(2), 401-408.
Al-Rawas, G. A., and Valeo, C. (2010). Relationship between wadi drainage characteristics and peak-flood flows in arid northern Oman. Hydrological Sciences Journal–Journal des Sciences Hydrologiques, 55(3), 377-393.
Bahat, Y., Grodek, T., Lekach, J., and Morin, E. (2009). Rainfall–runoff modeling in a small hyper-arid catchment. Journal of hydrology, 373(1-2), 204-217.
McIntyre, N., Al-Qurashi, A., and Wheater, H. (2007). Regression analysis of rainfall–runoff data from an arid catchment in Oman. Hydrological Sciences Journal/Journal des Sciences Hydrologiques, 52(6), 1103-1118.
Singh, S. K. (2000). Transmuting synthetic unit hydrographs into gamma distribution. Journal of Hydrologic engineering, 5(4), 380-385.
Arnold, J. G., Srinivasan, R., Muttiah, R. S., and Williams, J. R. (1998). Large area hydrologic modeling and assessment part I: model development. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 34(1), 73-89.
Wang, X., Liu, T., Li, C., Zhu, Z., Zhang, S., and Melesse, A. M. (2011). Development of a modified rational equation for arid-region runoff estimation. In World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2011: Bearing Knowledge for Sustainability (pp. 4702-4716).
Mulvaney, T. J. (1851). On the use of self-registering rain and flood gauges in making observations of the relations of rainfall and flood discharges in a given catchment. Proceedings of the institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland, 4(2), 18-33.
Kuichling, E. (1889). The relation between the rainfall and the discharge of sewers in populous districts. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 20(1), 1-56.
Ben-zvi, A. (1984). Runoff peaks from two-dimensional laboratory watersheds. Journal of hydrology, 68(1-4), 115-139
El-Hames, A. S. (2012). An empirical method for peak discharge prediction in ungauged arid and semi-arid region catchments based on morphological parameters and SCS curve number. Journal of hydrology, 456, 94-100.
Lumbroso, D., and Gaume, E. (2012). Reducing the uncertainty in indirect estimates of extreme flash flood discharges. Journal of hydrology, 414, 16-30.
Burns, D., Vitvar, T., McDonnell, J., Hassett, J., Duncan, J., and Kendall, C. (2005). Effects of suburban development on runoff generation in the Croton River basin, New York, USA. Journal of Hydrology, 311(1-4), 266-281.
El-Hames, A. S. (2012). An empirical method for peak discharge prediction in ungauged arid and semi-arid region catchments based on morphological parameters and SCS curve number. Journal of hydrology, 456, 94-100.
Marek, M. A. (2011). Hydraulic Design Manual, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Design Division (DES), Texas, USA.
Al-Ahmadi, F. S., and Hames, A. S. (2009). Comparison of four classification methods to extract land use and land cover from raw satellite images for some remote arid areas, kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Earth, 20(1), 167-191.
El-Hames, A. S., and Al-Wagdany, A. S. (2012). Reconstruction of flood characteristics in urbanized arid regions: case study of the flood of 25 November 2009 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Hydrological sciences journal, 57(3), 507-516.
Green, J. I., and Nelson, E. J. (2002). Calculation of time of concentration for hydrologic design and analysis using geographic information system vector objects. Journal of Hydroinformatics, 4(2), 75-81.
El-Hames, A. S. (2012). An empirical method for peak discharge prediction in ungauged arid and semi-arid region catchments based on morphological parameters and SCS curve number. Journal of hydrology, 456, 94-100.