Assessment of runoff contributing catchment areas in rainfall runoff modelling

Søren Thorndahl, C. Johansen, Kjeld Schaarup-Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In numerical modelling of rainfall caused runoff in urban sewer systems an essential parameter is the hydrological reduction factor which defines the percentage of the impervious area contributing to the surface flow towards the sewer. As the hydrological processes during a rainfall are difficult to determine with significant precision the hydrological reduction factor is implemented to account all hydrological losses except the initial loss. This paper presents an inconsistency between calculations of the hydrological reduction factor, based on measurements of rainfall and runoff, and till now recommended literature values for residential areas. It is proven by comparing rainfall-runoff measurements from four different residential catchments that the literature values of the hydrological reduction factor are over-estimated for this type of catchment. In addition, different catchment descriptions are presented in order to investigate how the hydrological reduction factor depends on the level of detail regarding the catchment description. When applying a total survey of the catchment area, including all possible impervious surfaces, a hydrological reduction factor of approximately 0.5 for residential areas with mainly detached houses is recommended-contrary to the literature recommended values of 0.7-0.9.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number6-7
Pages (from-to)49–56
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Catchment area assessment
  • Hydrological reduction factor
  • Initial loss
  • Rainfall measurements
  • Urban runoff modelling


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