Assessment of a water-harvesting site in Riyadh Region of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia using hydrological analysis

  • Hesham Fouli
  • Abdulaziz S. AL-Turbak
  • Bashar Bashir
  • Oumar A. Loni
Original Paper


A potential ungauged water-harvesting site was chosen in the central Riyadh Region of Saudi Arabia. A hydrological study was carried out on the catchment area from which runoff water will be diverted to the chosen site. Rainfall depth records from three neighboring rain gauges were used. Runoff volumes and peak discharges for the 2-, 5-, and 10-year storms were estimated using three methods, namely, (a) Soil Conservation Service (SCS) Dimensionless Unit Hydrograph (DUH) method assuming Gumbel distribution for rainfall depth analysis, (b) HEC-HMS modeling, and (c) the modified Talbot formula. The results show that the modified Talbot formula yields an order of magnitude higher peak discharge values for all return periods. The SCS-DUH method and HEC-HMS modeling provide comparable estimates for the peak discharges and runoff volumes. The peak discharges obtained through the Hydrologic Engineering Center-Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) model for the 2-, 5-, and 10-year storms are 0.17, 0.83, and 1.34 times than those obtained by the SCS-DUH, respectively. The HEC-HMS runoff volume estimates are 0.18, 0.85, and 1.36 times than those estimated by the SCS-DUH for the 2-, 5-, and 10-year storms, respectively.


Water harvesting Arid regions Riyadh Region Hydrologic analyses 



The authors would like to thank the Chair of Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water of Prince Sultan Institute for Environmental, Water and Desert Research at King Saud University for the provided financial and technical support. The authors also thank Dr. Rabie S. Fouli, former World Meteorological Organization (WMO) expert, for his productive discussions and review of the manuscript.


  1. Adhikari RN, Singh AK, Math SKN, Raizada A, Mishra PK, Reddy KK (2013) Augmentation of groundwater recharge and water quality improvement by water harvesting structures in the semi-arid Deccan. Curr Sci 104(11):1534–1543Google Scholar
  2. Al-Adamat R (2008) GIS as a decision support system for siting water harvesting ponds in the basalt Aquifer/NE Jordan. J Environ Assess Policy Manag 10(2):189–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alazba AA (2004) Contour maps for hydrologic and climatic parameters in Saudi Arabia. American Society of agricultural and biological engineers, paper number 042096, ASAE annual meeting. (doi:  10.13031/2013.16379)
  4. AlHassoun SA (2011) Developing an empirical formulae to estimate rainfall intensity in Riyadh region. J King Saud Univ – Eng Sci 23:81–88Google Scholar
  5. Al-Shaikh A (2004) King Fahd’s project for rainwater and runoff harvesting and recharge in Saudi Arabia. Internal Report (in Arabic) at Prince Sultan Research Institute for Environment, Water and Desert, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaGoogle Scholar
  6. Al-Shareef OH, Ezzeldin M, Gutub S (2013) Comparison of peak discharge estimation methods in northern Jeddah in western Saudi Arabia. J Environ Hydrol 21, Paper 13Google Scholar
  7. Al-Turbak AS, Quraishi AA (1986) Regional flood frequency analysis for some selected basins in Saudi Arabia. In: Proceedings of international symposium on flood frequency and risk analysis, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA., Volume on Regional Flood Frequency Analysis, 27–34Google Scholar
  8. Bashir B, Fouli H, Al-Turbak A, Loni OA (2015) Using GIS and DEM to identify suitable rainwater harvesting sites in Riyadh Region of Saudi Arabia. Proceedings of the European water resources association 9th world congress - Water resources management in a changing world: challenges and opportunities, 10–13 June, Istanbul, TurkeyGoogle Scholar
  9. Brockwell PJ, Davis RA (2002) Introduction to time series and forecasting, 2nd edn. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Climate Atlas of Saudi Arabia (1988) Publication of Ministry of Agriculture and Water (now Ministry of Water and Electricity) in cooperation with the Saudi Arabian-United States Joint Commission on Economic CooperationGoogle Scholar
  11. Elsebaie IH (2011) Rainfall intensity-duration-frequency relationship for some regions in Saudi Arabia. Int J Sustain Water Environ Syst 2(1):7–16Google Scholar
  12. General Soil Map of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1985) Ministry of Agriculture and Water, Land Management Dept.; [S.I.]: U.S.-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic CooperationGoogle Scholar
  13. Hadadin N, Shawash S, Tarawneh Z, Banihani Q, Hamdi MR (2012) Spatial hydrological analysis for water harvesting potential using ArcGIS model: the case of the north-eastern desert, Jordan. Water Policy 14:524–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Machiwal D, Jha MK (2012) Hydrologic time series analysis: theory and practice, Springer, ISBN: 978-94-007-1860-9 (Print); 978-94-007-1861-6 (Online)Google Scholar
  15. Mahmoud SH, Alazba AA (2014) The potential of in situ rainwater harvesting in arid regions: developing a methodology to identify suitable areas using GIS-based decision support system. Arab J Geosci. doi: 10.1007/s12517-014-1535-3 Google Scholar
  16. Mahmoud SH, Alazba AA, Amin MT (2014) Identification of potential sites for groundwater recharge using a GIS-based decision support system in Jazan region-Saudi Arabia. Water Resour Manag 28:3319–3340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Manivit J, Pellaton C, Vaslet D, Le Nindre Y, Brosse J, Breton J, Fourniguet J (1985) Explanatory notes to the geologic map of the Darma quadrangle, sheet 24 H, Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resource, Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resource, Kingdom of Saudi ArabiaGoogle Scholar
  18. Mays LW (1999) Hydraulic design handbook. McGraw-Hill, New York, ISBN: 9780070411524Google Scholar
  19. Murrow W (1971) Drainage report, a report submitted to Ministry of Communications, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, p. 217Google Scholar
  20. Oweis TY, Prinz D, Hachum AY (2012) Rainwater harvesting for agriculture in the dry areas. CRC Press, Balkema, ISBN: 978-0-415-62114-4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Tekeli AE, Fouli H, Al-Turbak AS (2015) Using TRMM satellite based precipitation products for flood monitoring over Riyadh City in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Proceedings of the European Water Resources Association 9th World Congress - Water Resources Management in a Changing World: Challenges and Opportunities, 10–13 June, Istanbul, TurkeyGoogle Scholar
  22. Wheater HS, Butler AP, Stewart EJ, Hamilton GS (1991a) A multivariate spatial-temporal model of rainfall in southwest Saudi Arabia. I. Spatial rainfall characteristics and model formulation. J Hydrol 125:175–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wheater HS, Onof C, Butler AP, Hamilton GS (1991b) A multivariate spatial-temporal model of rainfall in southwest Saudi Arabia. II. Regional analysis and long-term performance. J Hydrol 125:201–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wilson EM (1990) Engineering hydrology, 4th edn. Palgrave Macmillan, UK, ISBN: 9780333517178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wu Y, Tang Y, Huang C (2009) Harvesting of rainwater and brooklets water to increase mountain agricultural productivity: a case study from a dry valley of southwestern China. Nat Res Forum 33:39–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Zerizghy MG, Rensburg LDV, Stigter K (2012) Characterization of rainfall in the Central South African Highveld for application in water harvesting. Irrig Drain 61 (Suppl. 2): 24–33Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hesham Fouli
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abdulaziz S. AL-Turbak
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bashar Bashir
    • 1
    • 2
  • Oumar A. Loni
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Chair of Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, Prince Sultan Institute for Environmental, Water and Desert ResearchKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)RiyadhSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations