Investigation of flow-rainfall co-variation for catchments selected based on the two main sources of River Nile

  • Charles OnyuthaEmail author
  • Patrick Willems
Original Paper


The co-variation of rainfall and flow was assessed in four selected catchments of the River Nile which has two main sources including the White Nile (in the Equatorial region) and the Blue Nile (from the Ethiopian highlands). The selected catchments included Kyoga and Kagera (from the Equatorial region), as well as Blue Nile and Atbara (in Sudan and Ethiopia). In each catchment, the flow-rainfall co-variation was investigated at both seasonal and annual time scales. To explain aggregated variation at larger temporal scale while investigating the possible change in catchment behavior, which may interfere with the flow-rainfall relationship, rainfall-runoff modeling was done at daily time scale using data (falling within the period 1949–2003) from Kagera and Blue Nile i.e. the major catchment of each region where the River Nile emanates. Correlation analysis was conducted to assess how well the variation of flow and that of catchment-wide rainfall resonate. The co-occurrence of the changes in observed and simulated overland flow was examined using the quantile perturbation method (QPM). Trends in the model residuals were detected using the Mann–Kendal (MK) and cumulative rank difference (CRD) tests. The null hypothesis H 0 (no correlation between rainfall and flow) was rejected at the significance level α of 5% for all the selected catchments. The temporal changes in terms of the QPM anomalies for both the observed and simulated flow were in a close agreement. The evidence to reject the H 0 (no trend in the model residuals) was generally statistically insufficient at α = 5% for all the models and selected catchments considering both the MK and CRD tests. These results indicate that change in catchment behavior due to anthropogenic influence in the Nile basin over the selected time period was minimal. Thus, the overall rainfall-runoff generation processes of the catchments did not change in a significant way over the selected data period. The temporal flow variation could be attributed mainly to the rainfall variation.


Rainfall-runoff modeling CRD trend test VHM NAM HBV River Nile QPM 



The research was financially supported by an IRO Ph.D. scholarship of KU Leuven.

Supplementary material

477_2017_1397_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hydraulics LaboratoryKU LeuvenHeverleeBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of TechnoscienceMuni UniversityAruaUganda
  3. 3.Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic EngineeringVrije Universiteit BrusselElsene, BrusselBelgium

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