Date of this Version

6-22-2015

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The spatiotemporal variability of a stream flow due to the complex interaction of catchment attributes and rainfall induce complexity in hydrology. Researchers have been trying to address this complexity with a number of approaches; river flow regime is one of them. The flow regime can be quantified by means of hydrological indices characterizing five components: magnitude, frequency, duration, timing, and rate of change of flow. Similarly, this study aimed to understand the flow variability of Ethiopian Rivers using the observed daily flow data from 208 gauging stations in the country. With this process, the Hierarchical Ward Clustering method was implemented to group the streams into three flow regimes (1) ephemeral, (2) intermittent, and (3) perennial. Principal component analysis (PCA) is also applied as the second multivariate analysis tool to identify dominant hydrological indices that cause the variability in the streams. The mean flow per unit catchment area (QmAR) and Base flow index (BFI) show an incremental trend with ephemeral, intermittent and perennial streams. Whereas the number of mean zero flow days ratio (ZFI) and coefficient of variation (CV) show a decreasing trend with ephemeral to perennial flow regimes. Finally, the streams in the three flow regimes were characterized with the mean and standard deviation of the hydrological variables and the shape, slope, and scale of the flow duration curve. Results of this study are the basis for further understanding of the ecohydrological processes of the river basins in Ethiopia.

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© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

DOI:10.3390/w7063149

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