Structural improvement of a kinematic wave-based distributed hydrologic model to estimate long-term river discharge in a tropical climate basin

Thatkiat Meema, Yasuto Tachikawa
Received 2020/02/27, Accepted 2020/06/14, Published 2020/07/16

Thatkiat Meema1), Yasuto Tachikawa1)

1) Department of Civil and Earth Resources Engineering, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

A distributed hydrologic model based on a kinematic wave approximation with surface and subsurface flow components is applicable to basins that have temperate climatic conditions similar to those in Japan. However, it is difficult to present long-term river discharge using the existing model structure in basins with different climatic conditions. This study aims to improve the model structure for better estimates of long-term discharge in the Nam Ngum River, the main tributary of the Mekong River, by incorporating bedrock aquifers as part of the slope flow component of the original model structure. Three bedrock groundwater structures are configured to incorporate the original model structure. The results show that a combination of the original model component and one unconfined aquifer structure are the best representations of the river flow regime from the original model structure, in which the rate of infiltration from the layer into the bedrock aquifer was calculated using vertical hydraulic conductivity. The Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient of the original and improved models increased from 0.80 to 0.86 during the calibration period and from 0.56 to 0.62 during the validation period. The results of this study show that the improved model structure is applicable for long-term hydrologic predictions in Southeast Asian catchments with distinct dry and rainy seasons.

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Copyright (c) 2020 The Author(s) CC-BY 4.0

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