Incorporating uncertainty in hydrological predictions for gauged and ungauged basins in southern Africa

E. Kapangaziwiri, D. A. Hughes, T. Wagener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The increasing demand for water in southern Africa necessitates adequate quantification of current freshwater resources. Watershed models are the standard tool used to generate continuous estimates of streamflow and other hydrological variables. However, the accuracy of the results is often not quantified, and model assessment is hindered by a scarcity of historical observations. Quantifying the uncertainty in hydrological estimates would increase the value and credibility of predictions. A model-independent framework aimed at achieving consistency in incorporating and analysing uncertainty within water resources estimation tools in gauged and ungauged basins is presented. Uncertainty estimation in ungauged basins is achieved via two strategies: a local approach for a priori model parameter estimation from physical catchment characteristics, and a regional approach to regionalize signatures of catchment behaviour that can be used to constrain model outputs. We compare these two sources of information in the data-scarce region of South Africa. The results show that both approaches are capable of uncertainty reduction, but that their relative values vary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1000-1019
Number of pages20
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Volume57
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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