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Hydrology 2017, 4(1), 17;

Hydrological Modelling Using a Rainfall Simulator over an Experimental Hillslope Plot

Water Resources Department, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Indian Space Research Organisation, 4 Kalidas Road, Dehradun-248001, Uttarakhand, India
Civil Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati-781039, Assam, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Artemi Cerdà
Received: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
PDF [5846 KB, uploaded 14 March 2017]


Hydrological processes are complex to compute in hilly areas when compared to plain areas. The governing processes behind runoff generation on hillslopes are subsurface storm flow, saturation excess flow, overland flow, return flow and pipe storage. The simulations of the above processes in the soil matrix require detailed hillslope hydrological modelling. In the present study, a hillslope experimental plot has been designed to study the runoff generation processes on the plot scale. The setup is designed keeping in view the natural hillslope conditions prevailing in the Northwestern Himalayas, India where high intensity rainfall events occur frequently. A rainfall simulator was installed over the experimental hillslope plot to generate rainfall with an intensity of 100 mm/h, which represents the dominating rainfall intensity range in the region. Soil moisture sensors were also installed at variable depths from 100 to 1000 mm at different locations of the plot to observe the soil moisture regime. From the experimental observations it was found that once the soil is saturated, it remains at field capacity for the next 24–36 h. Such antecedent moisture conditions are most favorable for the generation of rapid stormflow from hillslopes. A dye infiltration test was performed on the undisturbed soil column to observe the macropore fraction variability over the vegetated hillslopes. The estimated macropore fractions are used as essential input for the hillslope hydrological model. The main objective of the present study was to develop and test a method for estimating runoff responses from natural rainfall over hillslopes of the Northwestern Himalayas using a portable rainfall simulator. Using the experimental data and the developed conceptual model, the overland flow and the subsurface flow through a macropore-dominated area have been estimated/analyzed. The surface and subsurface runoff estimated using the developed hillslope hydrological model compared well with the observed surface runoff for a rainfall intensity of 100 mm/h. The surface runoff hydrograph was very well predicted by the model, with correlation coefficient (R2) and Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient (E) as 0.95 and 0.91, respectively. The observed soil/macropore storage component was estimated with the help of water balance equation and compared with the model predicted macropore storage. The error in computing the soil/macropore storage was estimated as 0.38 mm i.e., 13%. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrological processes; hillslope hydrological modeling; rainfall simulator; macropores; subsurface flow processes hydrological processes; hillslope hydrological modeling; rainfall simulator; macropores; subsurface flow processes

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Chouksey, A.; Lambey, V.; Nikam, B.R.; Aggarwal, S.P.; Dutta, S. Hydrological Modelling Using a Rainfall Simulator over an Experimental Hillslope Plot. Hydrology 2017, 4, 17.

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