Distributed Hydrological Modeling of Semi-Arid Regions: the Case of Al-Faria Catchment, West Bank, Palestine

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“Qasim Sulaiman”, Hadeel Fathi
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An-Najah National University
Water shortage forms a major challenge facing water managers in water scarce countries such as Palestine. As a result, great efforts should be done in order to manage the water resources optimally. Hydrological modeling is a tool among several others that is used to support water resources management. As a result, the hydrological modeling improves the understanding of the water system and provides the input data required for the water resources management models. In this regard, few researches have been carried out regarding the hydrological modeling in The Faria catchment. This study was performed in The Faria catchment, which is located in the northeastern part of the West Bank, Palestine. The area of the catchment is about 320 km2 which represents approximately 6% of the total area of the West Bank. Moreover, it drains its water into Jordan River in its southeastern part. In this study, a preliminary visualization of rainfall runoff modeling was performed using HEC-HMS software which is used to simulate the rainfall-runoff response in the Faria catchment, and to understand the general hydrologic processes there. Single storm events were simulated using HEC-HMS. The storm of February (8-9), 2009 was used for the model calibration, while the storm of February (4-8) was used for the validation. The model was statistically evaluated through the comparison of the stream observed flow data and the model simulated ones. Furthermore, the applicability and effectiveness of a more recent hydrological model in the Faria catchment was tested. The model is WRF-Hydro (Weather Research and Forecasting model- Hydrological model extension package). Two continuous simulations were developed using the model. The first one was for January and February, 2005 and the second one was for the three years (2003-2005). Then, some calibration was performed to enhance the simulation results and to improve the model performance. From this research, it could be concluded that the HEC-HMS model is able to simulate single rainfall events in Faria semi-arid catchment to a good acceptable degree. Moreover, WRF-Hydro model is useful for continuous simulations although it is not very feasible in our case. This is mainly because that it is used in the offline (uncoupled) mode due to the unavailability of the boundary conditions for a big enough domain. Finally, both studied models in this research could be used as prediction tools for the Faria catchment and catchments with similar hydrological conditions. However, these models need further enhancement and calibration to improve its efficiency.