Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 309–320 | Cite as

Development of a Cell-based model to derive direct runoff hydrographs for ungauged mountainous basins

  • P. B. Hunukumbura
  • S. B. WeerakoonEmail author
  • Srikantha Herath


A model to derive direct runoff hydrograph for an ungauged basin using the physical properties of the basin is presented. The basin is divided into grid cells and canal elements. Overland flow is generated from each grid cell of the basin by application of continuous effective rainfall of 1 mm/hr to the basin. The flow generated is routed through downstream grid cells and the canal elements using the kinematic wave approach. The travel time for direct runoff from each grid cell to the basin outlet is calculated and the S-curve is derived for the basin. The S-curve is used to derive the unit hydrograph of a given duration for the basin.

The model, referred as Cell-basin model was applied to the Upper Kotmale Basin in Sri Lanka and the model predictions of direct runoff hydrographs for rainfall events agreed with the observations to a reasonable accuracy. Comparison of the unit hydrographs obtained from the model and from the conventional Snyder’s synthetic unit hydrograph using regionalized parameters assuming the basin as an ungauged basin, with the unit hydrograph derived from the observations showed that the model predicted unit hydrograph was more suitable than that obtained by Snyder’s method for Sri Lankan up country basins. Thus, the present model is a useful tool to obtain direct runoff hydrograph for ungauged basins.


Ungauged basin GIS unit hydrograph mountainous basin direct runoff hydrograph model cell-based model cell-basin model 


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Copyright information

© Science Press 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. B. Hunukumbura
    • 1
  • S. B. Weerakoon
    • 2
    Email author
  • Srikantha Herath
    • 3
  1. 1.Disaster Prevention Research InstituteKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Dept. of Civil EngineeringUniversity of PeradeniyaSri Lanka
  3. 3.Environment and Sustainable Development ProgrammeUnited Nations UniversityTokyoJapan

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