Articles | Volume 21, issue 6
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 3071–3091, 2017
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 3071–3091, 2017
Review article
28 Jun 2017
Review article | 28 Jun 2017

Rainfall and streamflow sensor network design: a review of applications, classification, and a proposed framework

Juan C. Chacon-Hurtado1, Leonardo Alfonso1, and Dimitri P. Solomatine1,2 Juan C. Chacon-Hurtado et al.
  • 1Department of Integrated Water Systems and Governance, UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2Water Resources Section, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands

Abstract. Sensors and sensor networks play an important role in decision-making related to water quality, operational streamflow forecasting, flood early warning systems, and other areas. In this paper we review a number of existing applications and analyse a variety of evaluation and design procedures for sensor networks with respect to various criteria. Most of the existing approaches focus on maximising the observability and information content of a variable of interest. From the context of hydrological modelling only a few studies use the performance of the hydrological simulation in terms of output discharge as a design criterion. In addition to the review, we propose a framework for classifying the existing design methods, and a generalised procedure for an optimal network design in the context of rainfall–runoff hydrological modelling.

Short summary
This paper compiles most of the studies (as far as the authors are aware) on the design of sensor networks for measurement of precipitation and streamflow. The literature shows that there is no overall consensus on the methods for the evaluation of sensor networks, as different design criteria often lead to different solutions. This paper proposes a methodology for the classification of methods, and a general framework for the design of sensor networks.