Determination of Watershed Lag Equation for Philippine Hydrology

Monday, 15 December 2014
Fatima Real Cipriano, Alfredo Mahar Francisco Amante Lagmay, Christopher Uichanco, Jerico Mendoza, Glenn Sabio, Kenneth Nino Punay, Mary Rose Oquindo and Matt Horritt, Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, Quezon City, Philippines
Widespread flooding is a major problem in the Philippines. The country experiences heavy amount of rainfall throughout the year and several areas are prone to flood hazards because of its unique topography. Human casualties and destruction of infrastructure are some of the damages caused by flooding and the country’s government has undertaken various efforts to mitigate these hazards. One of the solutions was to create flood hazard maps of different floodplains and use them to predict the possible catastrophic results of different rain scenarios. To produce these maps, different types of data were needed and part of that is calculating hydrological components to come up with an accurate output. This paper presents how an important parameter, the time-to-peak of the watershed (Tp) was calculated. Time-to-peak is defined as the time at which the largest discharge of the watershed occurs. This is computed by using a lag time equation that was developed specifically for the Philippine setting. The equation involves three measurable parameters, namely, watershed length (L), maximum potential retention (S), and watershed slope (Y). This approach is based on a similar method developed by CH2M Hill and Horritt for Taiwan, which has a similar set of meteorological and hydrological parameters with the Philippines. Data from fourteen water level sensors covering 67 storms from all the regions in the country were used to estimate the time-to-peak. These sensors were chosen by using a screening process that considers the distance of the sensors from the sea, the availability of recorded data, and the catchment size. Values of Tp from the different sensors were generated from the general lag time equation based on the Natural Resource Conservation Management handbook by the US Department of Agriculture. The calculated Tp values were plotted against the values obtained from the equation L0.8(S+1)0.7/Y0.5. Regression analysis was used to obtain the final equation that would be used to calculate the time-to-peak specifically for rivers in the Philippine setting. The calculated values could then be used as a parameter for modeling different flood scenarios in the country.