Articles | Volume 18, issue 12
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 5289–5301, 2014
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 5289–5301, 2014

Research article 18 Dec 2014

Research article | 18 Dec 2014

Assessment of surface water resources availability using catchment modelling and the results of tracer studies in the mesoscale Migina Catchment, Rwanda

O. Munyaneza1, A. Mukubwa2, S. Maskey3, S. Uhlenbrook3,4, and J. Wenninger3,4 O. Munyaneza et al.
  • 1University of Rwanda, School of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, P.O. Box 3900, Kigali, Rwanda
  • 2Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP), Department of Water Resources Development, P.O. Box 6759, KN 81 St., KCT 5th Floor, Kigali-Rwanda, Rwanda
  • 3UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Department of Water Science and Engineering, P.O. Box 3015, 2601 DA Delft, the Netherlands
  • 4Delft University of Technology, Section of Water Resources, P.O. Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft, the Netherlands

Abstract. In the present study, we developed a catchment hydrological model which can be used to inform water resources planning and decision making for better management of the Migina Catchment (257.4 km2). The semi-distributed hydrological model HEC-HMS (Hydrologic Engineering Center – the Hydrologic Modelling System) (version 3.5) was used with its soil moisture accounting, unit hydrograph, liner reservoir (for baseflow) and Muskingum–Cunge (river routing) methods. We used rainfall data from 12 stations and streamflow data from 5 stations, which were collected as part of this study over a period of 2 years (May 2009 and June 2011). The catchment was divided into five sub-catchments. The model parameters were calibrated separately for each sub-catchment using the observed streamflow data. Calibration results obtained were found acceptable at four stations with a Nash–Sutcliffe model efficiency index (NS) of 0.65 on daily runoff at the catchment outlet. Due to the lack of sufficient and reliable data for longer periods, a model validation was not undertaken. However, we used results from tracer-based hydrograph separation from a previous study to compare our model results in terms of the runoff components. The model performed reasonably well in simulating the total flow volume, peak flow and timing as well as the portion of direct runoff and baseflow. We observed considerable disparities in the parameters (e.g. groundwater storage) and runoff components across the five sub-catchments, which provided insights into the different hydrological processes on a sub-catchment scale. We conclude that such disparities justify the need to consider catchment subdivisions if such parameters and components of the water cycle are to form the base for decision making in water resources planning in the catchment.