Application of SCS Model in Estimation of Runoff from Small Watershed in Loess Plateau of China

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1 Chin. Geogra. Sci (3) DOI: /s x Application of SCS Model in Estimation of Runoff from Small Watershed in Loess Plateau of China (College of Geography and Planning, Ludong University, Yantai , China) Abstract: Soil Conservation Service (SCS) model, developed by U. S. Soil Conservation Service in 1972, has been widely applied in the estimation of runoff from an small watershed. In this paper, based on the remote sensing geo-information data of land use and soil classification all obtained from Landsat images in 1996 and 1997 and conventional data of hydrology and meteorology, the SCS model was investigated for simulating the surface runoff for single rainstorm in Wangdonggou watershed, a typical small watershed in the Loess Plateau, located in Changwu County of Shaanxi Province of China. Wangdonggou watershed was compartmentalized into 28 sub-units according to natural draining division,and the table of curve number (CN) values fitting for Wangdonggou watershed was also presented. During the flood period from 1996 to 1997, the hydrograph of calculated runoff process using the SCS model and the hydrograph of observed runoff process coincided very well in height as well as shape, and the model was of high precision above 75%. It is indicated that the SCS model is legitimate and can be successfully used to simulate the runoff generation and the runoff process of typical small watershed based on the remote sensing geo-information in the Loess Plateau. Keywords: runoff simulation; small watershed; SCS model; Loess Plateau 1 Introduction A watershed is a physiographic or hydrologic-ecological unit composed of interrelated parts and functions. With the social and economic development, human activities and land use change have dramatically affected the watershed runoff generation and flow paths (Xia et al., 2005). The changes in runoff characteristics induced by intensive human activities are important to well understand the effects of land use/cover change (LUCC) on the hydrological processes of watershed surface (Liu et al., 2004; Zepp et al., 2005). Therefore, there has been a growing need to quantify the impacts of land use changes on hydrology for small watershed management from the standpoint of anticipating and minimizing potential environmental impacts. In the Loess Plateau of China, the accurate information on runoff was scarcely available in most small watersheds because the traditional hydrological models used in practice could not represent the distributed nature of watershed hydrological properties like soil type, slope and land use (Hellweger and Maidment, 1999). Moreover, it was impossible to input spatial characterization data (e.g. land cover type, terrain slope) of the underlying surface concerning parameters relevant to runoff formation directly to most traditional hydrologic models owing to the incompatibilities between the traditional hydrological model structure and characteristics of remote sensing data (Gert, 19; Greene and Cruise, 1996; Qi, 2001). Thus, the hydrological model based on GIS or remote sensing may become an inevitable requirement for the precise simulation of runoff. With the development of GIS and remote sensing techniques, the growing useful information on spatial data is provided. Hence the hydrological watershed models have been more physically based and distributed to enumerate various interactive hydrological processes considering spatial heterogeneity. The purpose of this study is to use the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) model, which fully considers physiographic heterogeneity (e.g. topography, soil, and land use), to simulate the rainfall-runoff relationship of small watershed in the Loess Plateau of China. The model will Received date: ; accepted date: Foundation item: Under the auspices of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No ) Corresponding author: LIU Xianzhao.

2 236 also serve as an efficient tool for land use management of typical watershed in the Loess Plateau for the 21st century. Finally, the SCS model was validated by comparing simulated runoff with the measured runoff of few selected events in flood season in the period of Materials and Method 2.1 Study area Wangdonggou watershed (35º12 35º16 N, 107º40 107º 42 E), situated at the west of Changwu County of Shaanxi Province, was selected as the study area, because it is one of the main control small watersheds in the Loess Plateau of China. It has a total area of 0ha with an elevation of m a.s.l. The average annual precipitation is 5mm, more than 70% of which occurs during the months from June to September. The maximum and minimum temperature is 32 and 15.3 respectively. The mean relative humidity varies from a minimum of 48% in April to a maximum of % in September. The climate of the area can be classified as a semiarid, warm temperature climate. The groundwater table is about 50 80m below the surface. The soil is mainly loam occupying the area with a slope varying from 0 o to 15 o, even up to 45 o. Major physical properties of the main soils are given in Table 1. This small watershed comprises a mosaic of ecosystem with 12 land use patterns. The average annual erosion module is 677.8t/(km 2 yr). Runoff observation station was built at the outlet of the watershed. In the recent years, with economic unprecedented development, the effect of human activities on runoff generation in Wangdonggou watershed has been rising rapidly. Table 1 Particle composition and hydrologic properties of soils in study area Soil type Particle composition (%) Saturated soil moisture Field capacity Wilting point Bulk density >0.05mm mm <0.005mm (g/kg) (g/kg) (g/kg) (g/cm) Dark loess soil Loessial soil Note: All data are mean values of 0 60cm soil layer 2.2 Data sources In this study, a variety of data including conventional land use map (Li and Su, 1996), soil map (Li and Su, 1996), standard topographic map (Shaanxi Province Civil Administration Bureau, 1971) and hydrometeorological data obtained from various sources have been used as data sources. Boundaries of different land uses were digitized in Arc/Info. The original 12 land use types were grouped into five types, i.e., farmland, forestland, grassland, orchard and residential area. Digital elevation model (DEM) derived from topographic map of the watershed. Digital soil map of the watershed was traced, scanned and rectified in Erdas Imagine 8.7 through using the topographic map. Meteorological data including daily and monthly rainfall for the period of were collected from local meteorological station. The daily runoff volume and runoff process of some typical rainstorms ( ) were obtained from hydrology station located at the outlet of the watershed. 2.3 SCS model and method SCS model, developed by U.S. Soil Conservation Service in 1972, also known as the Hydrologic Soil Cover Complex Model, has been widely used internationally for water resources management, urban storm water modeling and runoff estimation (Hawkins, 1993; Greene and Cruise, 1995; Mishra et al., 2005; Tsihrintzis and Hamid, 1997; Lewis et al., 2000; Sharma et al., 2001; Chandrmohan and Durbude, 2001; Sharma and Kumar, 2002; He, 2003) because of its versatility. It has also been introduced and applied by some scholars in China because it gives consistently useful results (Pan, 1996; Liu et al., 2005; Jin et al., 2003). Because major input parameters for the SCS model are land use, soil type, terrain slopes, etc., the model is potentially compatible with remote sensing input and can reflect the impact of human activities on runoff yield. The SCS model can be expressed as: 2 ( P 0.2 S), P 0.2S Q= P+ 0.8S (1) 0, P < 0.2S where Q is runoff depth (mm), P is storm rainfall (mm), and S is potential maximum retention or infiltration (mm). For convenience and standardization application of Equation (1), S is expressed in the form of a dimensionless runoff curve number (CN):

3 Application of SCS Model in Estimation of Runoff from Small Watershed in Loess Plateau of China S = 254 CN (2) where CN represents the runoff potential of the land cover-soil complex characteristics governed by soil antecedent moisture condition (AMC), soil type, and land use and treatment. Three AMCs were defined as dry, moderate and wet, and denoted as AMC Ⅰ, AMC Ⅱ, and AMC Ⅲ, respectively. CN values range from 0 to 100. In order to quantitatively differentiate and reflect the spatial unevenness information on the watershed underlying surface conditions by the CN value in the SCS model, the prime remote sensing data source DEM (Fig. 1) derived from topographic map on the scale was used to extract physical characteristics of slope (Fig. 2) and sub-divided basin areas by hydrological GIS tools. From different data sources such as topography, soil and land use, 28 ecological hydrology subunits (EHSUs), which were homogeneous areas with the same land use and pedo-topo-ecological conditions controlling their unique hydrological dynamics, were derived as described in Fig. 3. The land use map (Fig. 4) and the soil map (Fig. 5) were superimposed by using Arc/Info based topographic map. The areas of five land use patterns (Table 2) and soil combinations were obtained in the attribute selection menu by using logical expression. Appropriate different CN values according to standard tables (United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, 1972) were assigned to each EHSU considering AMC. The maximum potential reten- tion was calculated through Equation (2). Then the direct runoff values from each EHSU were estimated using SCS model for rainfall events. The cumulative runoff from the watershed outlet was calculated by Muskingum model (Hassanuzzaman, 1993). The estimated runoff was then validated by comparing it with observed runoff for that period. 3 Results 3.1 Determination of CN value We can know from the above analysis that the calculation of runoff generation in the SCS model mainly relied on CN values, which was a function of AMC, slope, soil type and land use. The CN value reflected the runoff potential. Under the same precipitation condition, low CN values mean that the surface has a high potential to retain water. While high values mean that the rainfall can be stored by the land surface only to a small extent. Therefore areas with high CN values produced a large amount of direct runoff and thereby contributed strongly to the flood peak. In the SCS model, the CN value was influenced by the AMC derived from rainfall measurements of the preceding five days. The CN value for AMC Ⅱ condition can be converted into CN values for AMC Ⅰ and AMC Ⅲ conditions by using available conversion factors as suggested by Delmar et al. (2005). Fig. 1 DEM of Wangdonggou watershed Fig. 2 Surface slope of Wangdonggou watershed

4 238 Fig. 3 Ecological hydrology subunit (EHSU) of Wangdonggou watershed Fig. 4 Land use map of Wangdonggou watershed Classified Landsat images integrated Geographic Information System with soil map applied the curve number tables (Table 3 and Table 4) provided by Soil Conservation Service to calculate curve numbers of each EHSU. To estimate curve numbers of EHSU, vector coverage of soil map, and land cover and land use classification were overlain each other. The soil layer and classified image were both converted to a 10-m grid cell in order to calculate curve number value. The CN value (Table 5) fitting for different AMCs and different land uses in Wangdonggou watershed was assigned. Curve numbers of the each EHSU (Table 6) were calculated by means of chapter 4 guidelines in National Engineering Handbook (NEH4) (United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, 1972). Land use Fig. 5 Soil map of Wangdonggou watershed Table 2 Land use/cover condition in studied watershed Area (ha) Proportion to total area (%) Main plant species Farmland Triticum aestivum Forestland Robinia pseudoacacia Grassland Erigeron annuus, Stipa glareosa Orchard Crataegus pinnatifida, Malus pumila Residential area Model verification In order to validate the SCS model output, daily rainfall data of seven selected events in 1996 and 1997 in Wangdonggou watershed were collected and the curve number of the watershed was used for the estimation of runoff and runoff process. The validity and feasibility of the SCS model based on the geographic information was verified by comparing the estimated runoff with measured values. The results show that the hydrographs of the estimated runoff process and the observed runoff process coincided very well in height as well as shape

5 Application of SCS Model in Estimation of Runoff from Small Watershed in Loess Plateau of China 239 Table 3 CN values of different soil types and land use types under medium soil moisture Land surface infiltration category Land use type A B C D Wasteland Tuber crops Grapery Cereal and feedstuff crops Exuberantly natural grassland Sparsely natural grassland Planted grassland Exuberant forestland Common forestland Sparse forestland Hard surface (cement surface) Notes: A, B, C, and D are four hydrologic soil groups, which are used to determine curve number. Soils in group A have well drained, in group B moderately-drained, in group C poorly drained, and in group D very poorly drained Source: United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, 1972 Table 4 Types of antecedent soil moisture condition for SCS model Antecedent moisture condition Plant growth stage Other Five-day antecedent rainfall (mm) stage AMCⅠ(Dry) < 30 < 15 AMC Ⅱ (Moderate) AMC Ⅲ (Wet) > 50 > 30 (Fig. 6), which indicates that the SCS model used in Wanggonggou watershed on the Loess Plateau has high precision and practicability. The absolute errors between the estimated runoff and observed runoff range from 0.06mm to 0.96mm and the relative errors were from 6.68% to 23.34%, which were within the permissible limit (Table 7). The simulated results of the SCS model were soundly consistent with the actual situation. Thus, the SCS model could be applied to simulating the runoff process of small watershed in the Loess Plateau. Table 5 CN values of different land use types in Wangdonggou watershed Antecedent moisture condition Farmland Forestland Grassland Orchard Residential area AMC Ⅰ (Dry) AMC Ⅱ (Moderate) AMC Ⅲ (Wet) Table 6 CN value of each ecological hydrology subunit (EHSU) in Wangdonggou watershed EHSU number AMCⅠ AMC Ⅱ AMC Ⅲ EHSU number AMCⅠ AMC Ⅱ AMC Ⅲ Table 7 Comparison between measured and simulated values of runoff yield by SCS model in Wangdonggou watershed Runoff volume (mm) Relative error Absolute error Date Rainfall depth (mm) Observed Estimated (%) (mm)

6 240 4 Conclusions In this study, curve number is a model coefficient, which is determined by the factors based on land use/cover from classified landsat images and soil groups. The method for determination of runoff for Wangdonggou watershed using GIS and SCS model is described. The results show that the simulated runoff processes are in good agreement with measured runoff processes, and the simulated accuracy is over 75%, which clearly demonstrated that integration of remote sensing, GIS and SCS model provided a powerful tool for runoff simulation of small watershed in the Loess Plateau of China. This approach may also be applied in other watersheds in China, where digital database is available for planning of various conservation measures. Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Changwu Ecology Station, Chinese Academy of Sciences for their help and support in this research. Special thanks go to the Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences for offering the remote sensing data. References Fig. 6 Comparison of observed runoff and simulated runoff by SCS model in Wangdonggou watershed Chandrmoha T, Durbude D G, Estimation of runoff using small watershed models. Hydrology Journal, 24(2): Delmar D F, William J E, Stephen R W, Soil and Water Conservation Engineering. Delhi: Standard Publishers Distributors. Gert A S, 19. Remote sensing in hydrology. Journal of Hydrology, 100(1 3): Greene R G, Cruise J F, Urban watershed modeling using geographic information system. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 121(4): Greene R G, Cruise J F, Development of a geographic information system for urban watershed analysis. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 62(7): 3 0. Hassanuzzaman M K, Muskingum flood routing model for multiple tributaries. Water Resources Research, 4(1): Hawkins R H, Asymptotic determinations of runoff curve numbers from rainfall-runoff data. Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, ASCE, 119(2): He C S, Integration of geographic information systems and simulation model for watershed management. Environmental Modelling & Software, 18(8): Hellweger F L, Maidment D R, Definition and connection

7 Application of SCS Model in Estimation of Runoff from Small Watershed in Loess Plateau of China 241 of hydrologic elements using geographic data. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 4(1): Jin Hua, Sun Xihuan, Li Yangbin, Application of SCS model in Lanhe watershed. Journal of Taiyuan University of Technology, 34(6): (in Chinese) Lewis M J, Singer M J, Tate K W, Applicability of SCS curve number method for a California Oak Woodlands Watershed. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 55(2): Li Yushan, Su Shanmin, Efficient Ecological and Economic System in Wangdong Watershed of Changwu County. Beijing: Scientific and Technical Documents Publishing House. (in Chinese) Liu G C, Tian G L, Shu D C, Streamflow and soil moisture of agroforestry and grass watersheds in hilly area. Pedosphere, 14(2): Liu Xianzhao, Kang Shaozhong, Liu Delin, SCS model based on geographic information and its application to simulate rainfall-runoff relationship at typical small watershed level in Loess Plateau. Transaction of the CSAE, 21(5): (in Chinese) Mishra S K, Jain M K, Bhunya P K et al., Field applicability of the SCS-CN-based Mishra-Singh general model and its variants. Water Resources Management, 19(1): Pan Jianjun, Study on hydrological property and runoff of catchment s by remote sensing. Journal of Soil Erosion and Soil and Water Conversation, 2(3):. (in Chinese) Qi H W, Modelling urban growth effects on surface runoff with the integration of remote sensing and GIS. Environmental Management, 28(6): Sharma D, Kumar V, Application of SCS model with GIS database for estimation of runoff in arid watershed. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 30(2): Sharma T S, Kiran P V, Singh T H, Hydrologic response of a watershed to land use changes: A remote sensing and GIS approach. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 22(11): Shaanxi Province Civil Administration Bureau, Changwu County Map. Xi'an: Xi'an Map Publishing House. (in Chinese) Tsihrintzis V A, Hamid R, Urban storm water quantity/quality modeling using the SCS method and empirical equation. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 33(3): United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Hydrology. In: National Engineering Handbook. Section 4. Washington D C: U S Govt. Printing office. Xia J, Wang G S, Ye A Z, A distributed monthly water balance model for analyzing impacts of land cover change on flow regimes. Pedosphere, 15(6): Zepp H, Tang J L, Zhang B, Methodological framework for a multi-scale study on hydrological processes and soil erosion in subtropical southeast China. Pedosphere, 15(6):

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