Combination of GIS and mathematical modeling to predict floods in semiarid areas: case of Rheraya watershed (Western High Atlas, Morocco)

Research paper by Abdelhafid El Alaoui El Fels, Ali Bachnou, Noureddine Alaa

Indexed on: 26 Dec '17Published on: 26 Dec '17Published in: Arabian Journal of Geosciences


The Tinitine sub-watershed of Rheraya is renowned for its semiarid climate, irregular supply of water flow, and its historical floods; for these reasons, it is classified as vulnerable areas during a rainfall event. We conducted this study to propose flood prediction models adapted to this risky zone. For this, a hydrological method of flood forecasting rainfall-runoff used to determine a model conforms to the semiarid basin. This model is based on the articulation of the series production and transfer function. The goal of the production function is to determine the portion of the rainfall runoff, which is performed by two approaches that differ in their structures: (1) the first approach is based on the mathematical model of Horton; (2) the second approach is based on the determination of the part of the rain contributes to runoff and obtained by a spatial map of runoff coefficient (GIS). The transfer function is based on the two models of Clark and Nash, rainy efficient routes to the catchment outlet from a unit hydrograph. The characteristic parameters of these models are obtained through the application of mathematical optimization methods such as genetic algorithms. Thereby, the coupling function producing Horton (identified by the parameters: initial infiltration = 15.03, final infiltration = 0.3, and phi = 0.45) and Clark transfer function (identified by the parameters CA = 0.21 and CB = 0.79) was given very satisfying results, mainly the low difference between observed and simulated hydrograph and Nash coefficient which is about 85%. This shows the interest of this coupling model in flood forecasting.