Identification of flow components with the trigonometric hydrograph separation method: a case study from Madjez Ressoul catchment, Algeria

  • Asma DahakEmail author
  • Hamouda Boutaghane
ICWEES2018 & IWFC2018
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Geo-environmental integration for sustainable development of water, energy, environment and society


Madjez Ressoul catchment constitutes an important source of fresh water and arable land in northeastern Algeria. In order to achieve better management of the catchments’ natural resources, specifically water, an advanced flood recession analysis was conducted, using the recession analysis-based trigonometric approach, which was based completely on a mathematical solution. This approach provides very useful results for the master recession curves construction. The advantage of this method in the hydrograph separation is both its non-subjectivity related to the user, and then its viability for initial use in the hydrograph separation field. Results in this real case give a better indication of groundwater flow during different drought periods, using many assessed parameters of initial discharge and relative recession time. A particular review of existing hydrograph separation techniques is used to situate the recession analysis and show its case of application relative to other techniques.


Hydrograph separation techniques Recession curve Runoff processes Hydrological modeling Recession segments Trigonometry approach 



With special appreciation, the authors would like to dedicate this research paper to the developer of the trigonometric hydrographic separation method, Posavec Kristian, using his Excel Macro, which included data from the National Agency of Hydraulic Resources (ANRH) provided an invaluable source of information. This work was developed with the support of the PRFU-MESRS Project named Analysis of potential impact of Climate Change on Rainfall Extreme, Flooding, and Urban Drainage Systems.


  1. Aksoy H, Bayazit M, Wittenberg H (2001) Probabilistic approach to modelling of recession curves. Hydrological Sciences Journal 18:269–285. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Archibald JA, Buchanan BP, Fuka DR, Georgakakos CB, Lyon SW, Walter MT (2014) A simple, regionally parameterized model for predicting nonpoint source areas in the northeastern US. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 1:74–91. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnold JG, Allen PM, Muttiah R, Bernhardt G (1994) Automated baseflow separation and recession analysis techniques. Ground Water 2-9:1010–1018. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Azeez NH, West LJ, Bottrell SH (2015) Numerical simulation of spring hydrograph recession curves for evaluating behavior of the East Yorkshire chalk aquifer. Proceedings of the 14th sinkhole conference, National Cave and Karst Research InstituteGoogle Scholar
  5. Bako MD, Hunt DN (1988) Derivation of baseflow recession constant using computer and numerical analysis. Hydrological Sciences 12:357–369. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bako MD, Owoade A (1988) Field application of a numerical method for the derivation of baseflow recession constant. Hydrological processes 6:331–336. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barlow PM, Cunningham WL, Zhai T, Gray M (2015) U.S. Geological Survey Groundwater Toolbox, A Graphical and Mapping Interface for Analysis of Hydrologic Data (Version 1.0)-User Guide for Estimation of Base Flow, Runoff, and Groundwater Recharge From Streamflow Data US Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 3-B10 27 doi:
  8. Berhail S, Ouerdachi L, Boutaghane H (2012) The use of the recession index as indicator for components of flow. Energy Procedia 18:741–750. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boulmaiz T (2016) Single neural network and neuro-updating conceptual model for forecasting runoff. International Journal of Hydrology Science and Technology 15:344–358. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boussinesq J (1904) Recherches théoriques sur l’écoulement des nappes d’eau infiltrées dans le sol et sur le débit des sources. Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquée 5e série tome 10:5–78Google Scholar
  11. Brodie R, Hostetler S (2005) A review of techniques for analysisng baseflow from stream hydrographs. Proceedings of the NZHS – IAH – NZSSS. Auckland, New Zealand, 13Google Scholar
  12. Chapman TG (1987) Unit hydrograph identification using only streamflow data. Trans Inst Eng Aust, CE29 05:187–191Google Scholar
  13. Dierauer JR, Whitfield PH, Allen DM (2017) Assessing the suitability of hydrometric data for trend analysis: the ‘FlowScreen’ package for R. Canadian Water Resources Journal 07:269–275. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eckhardt K (2005) How to construct recursive digital filters for baseflow separation. Hydrological Processes 19:507–515. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gregor M, Malik P (2012) Construction of master recession curve using genetic algorithms. Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics 13:3–15. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gremillion P, Gonyeau A, Wanielista M (2000) Application of alternative hydrograph separation models to detect changes in flow paths in a watershed undergoing urban development. 17 doi:<1485::AID-HYP988>3.0.CO;2-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hall F (1968) Baseflow recessions--a review. Water Ressources Research 11:973–983. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hammond M, Han D (2006) Recession curve estimation for storm event separations. Journal of Hydrology 13:573–585. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holland JH (1975) Adaptation in natural and artificial systems, 2nd edn. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor MIT Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  20. Horton RE (1933) The role of infiltration in the hydrologic cycle. Eos Transactions American Geophysical union banner 14:446–460. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hugenschmidt C, Ingwersen J, Sangchan W, Sukvanachaikul Y, Duffner A, Uhlenbrook S, Streck T (2014) A three-component hydrograph separation based on geochemical tracers in a tropical mountainous headwater catchment in northern Thailand. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 13:525–537. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jakeman AJ, Littewood IG, Whitehead PG (1990) Computation of the instantaneous unit hydrograph and identafiable component flows with application to two small upland catchments. Journal of hydrology 30:275–300. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jason JXB, Yee Yong T, Fu Ee T, Carrie H (2018) A tracer study in a vertical flow constructed wetland treating septage. World Journal of Engineering 15:345–353. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kienzle SW (2006) The use of the recession index as an indicator for streamflow recovery after a multi-year drought. Water Resources Management 20:991–1006. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Koffler D, Laaha G (2013) LFSTAT - Low-Flow Analysis in R. In: Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vienna, Austria, April 07–12Google Scholar
  26. Maillet E (1905) Essais d’hydraulique souterraine et fluviale. Librairie Sci. A, Hermann, p 218Google Scholar
  27. Meshgi A, schmitter P, Babovic V, CHUI TFM (2014) Predicting stream baseflow using genetic programing The 11th International conference on hydroinformatics (HIC 2014), New York City, NY, 17-21 August 2014 In conference proceedings:1-8 doi:10722/199509Google Scholar
  28. Mizumura K (1995) Ruonff prediction by simple tank model using recession curve. Hydraulic Engineering 07:812–818. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nathan RJ, McMahon TA (1990) Evaluation of automated techniques for base flow and recession analyses. Water ressources research 26:1465–1473. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ninghu S (1995) The unit-hydrograph model for hydrograph separation. Environment International 21:509–515. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Okello AMLS, Uhlenbrook S, Jewitt GPW, Masih I, Riddell ES, Zaag PV (2018) Hydrograph separation using tracers and digital filters to quantify runoff components in a semi-arid meso-scale catchment. Hydrological Processes 46:1334–1350. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Posavec K, Bačani A, Nakić Z (2006) A visual basic spreadsheet macro for recession curve analysis. Ground Water 44:764–767. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Posavec K, Parlov J, Nakić Z (2010) Fully automated objective-based method for master recession curve separation. Groundwater 48:598–603. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Posavec K, Giacopetti M, Materazzi M, Birk S (2017) Method and excel VBA algorithm for modeling master recession curve using trigonometry approach. Groundwater 8:891–898. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pradhan NR, loney D (2018) An analysis of the unit hydrograph peaking factor: a case study in goose creek watershed, virginia. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 15:31–48. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Raffensperger JP, Baker AC, Blomquist JD, Hopple JA (2017) Optimal hydrograph separation using a recursive digital filter constrained by chemical mass balance, with application to selected chesapeake bay watersheds: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5034, USGS West Trenton Publishing Service Center, 64 pGoogle Scholar
  37. Richter BD, Baumgartner JV, Powell J, Braun DP (1996) A method for assessing hydrologic alteration within ecosystems Conservation. Biology 10:163–174. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rupp DE, Selker JS (2005) Information, artifacts, and noise in dQ/dt- Q recession analysis. Advances in Water Resources 07:1–7. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rutledge A (1998) Computer programs for describing the recession of ground-water discharge and for estimating mean ground-water recharge and discharge from streamflow records—Update. U.S. Geological survey, Reston 52pGoogle Scholar
  40. Rutledge AT (2013) Use of groundwater levels with the PULSE analytical model. Ground Water 09:789–797. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shakti PC, Shrestha NK, Gurung P (2010) Step wise multi-criteria performance evaluation of rainfall-runoff models using. WETSPRO Journal of hydrology and meteorology 07(1):18–29. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Singh P, Huebl H, Weinmeister HW (2000) Use of the recession characteristics of snowmelt hydrographs in the assessment of snow water storage in a basin. Hydrological Processes 14:91–101.<91::AID-HYP912>3.0.CO;2-E CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Skhakhfa ID, Lahbassi O (2016) Hydrological modelling of wadi ressoul watershed, Algeria, by HEC-HMS model. Journal of Water and Land Development 10:139–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Slotoand RA, Crouse MY (1996) A computer program for streamflow hydrograph separation and analysis: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations report 1996–4040, 46 p. doi:
  45. Smakhtin VU (2001) Low flow hydrology: a review. Journal of Hydrology 240:147–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stewart MK (2015) Promising new baseflow separation and recession analysis methods applied to streamflow at Glendhu catchment, New Zealand. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 17:2587–2603. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sujono J, Shikasho S, Hiramatsu K (2004) A comparison of techniques for hydrograph recession analysis. Hydrological Processes 18:403–413. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tallaksen LM (1995) A review of baseflow recession analysis. Journal of Hydrology 165:349–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Turner SWD, Galelli S (2016) Water supply sensitivity to climate change: an R package for implementing reservoir storage analysis in global and regional impact studies. Environmental Modelling and Software 07:13–19. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Verschuren JP (1973) In: Gray DM (ed) Handbook on the principles of Hydrology, vol 691. Canadian National Committee for the International Hydrological Decade, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  51. Wittenberg H (1999) Baseflow recession and recharge as nonlinear storage processes. Hydrological Processes 13:715–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wittenberg H, Sivapalan M (1999) Watershed groundwater balance estimation using streamflow recession analysis and baseflow separation. Journal of Hydrology 219:20–33.<715::AID-HYP775>3.0.CO;2-N CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wouter B, Simon M, Jon S, Edzer P, Dominik R (2015) Facilitating hydrological data analysis workflows in R: the RHydro package. 12-17 April, in Vienna, Austria. id.11033Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Soil and Hydraulics Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Hydraulics DepartmentBadji Mokhtar-Annaba UniversityAnnabaAlgeria

Personalised recommendations