A simple model for low flow forecasting in Mediterranean streams

K. Risva, D. Nikolopoulos, A. Efstratiadis, and I. Nalbantis, A simple model for low flow forecasting in Mediterranean streams, 10th World Congress on Water Resources and Environment "Panta Rhei", Athens, European Water Resources Association, 2017.



Low flows commonly occur in rivers during dry seasons within each year. They often concur with increased water demand which creates numerous water resources management problems. This paper seeks for simple yet efficient tools for low-flow forecasting, which are easy to implement, based on the adoption of an exponential decay model for the flow recession curve. A statistical attribute of flows preceding the start of the dry period is used as the starting flow, as for example the minimum flow of early April. On the other hand, the decay rate (recession parameter) is assumed as a linear function of the starting flow. The two parameters of that function are time-invariant, and they are optimised over a reference time series representing the low flow component of the observed hydrographs. The methodology is tested in the basins of Achelous, Greece, Xeros and Peristerona, Cyprus, and Salso, Italy. Raw data are filtered by simple signal processing techniques which remove the effect of flood events occurring in dry periods, thus allowing the preservation of the decaying form of the flow recession curve. Results indicate that satisfactory low flow forecasts are possible for Mediterranean basins of different hydrological behaviour.

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