Linear analysis of a physically based model of a distributed surface runoff system

T.J. van de Nes

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


As part of a model for the rainfall-run-off relation of a catchment, a linear distributed model of surface run-off is presented in this report.

This model, without internal boundary conditions, consists of a cascade of linear conceptual elements. It simulates the complex drainage system by a network of overland flow and channel-flow elements. These elements obey the one-dimensional equations for unsteady flow in a channel. Simplification and linearisation of the dynamic equations lead to diffusion type equations. Their solution for suitable boundary conditions yield the impulse response functions, which characterize the operation of the elements. Special attention is given to the application of the techniques of linear system analysis, such as moments and spectra. These techniques produce information on the relative importance of the various conceptual elements. Consequently it is possible to decide on the necessary detail in the variation in time and space of both the inflow and structure of the drainage model.

Results obtained by using the linear model have been compared with results of a more exact non-linear model and have been encouraging. At the end some practical applications have been given.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Kraijenhoff van de Leur, D.A., Promotor, External person
Award date24 May 1973
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789022004593
Publication statusPublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes


  • surface water
  • canals
  • discharge
  • drainage
  • forecasting
  • hydrology
  • models
  • overland flow
  • precipitation
  • rivers
  • runoff
  • water balance
  • watersheds


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