Flash flood inundation map preparation for wadis in arid regions

Sen Z., Khiyami H. A. , Al-Harthy S. G. , Al-Ammawi F. A. , Al-Balkhi A. B. , Al-Zahrani M. I. , ...More

ARABIAN JOURNAL OF GEOSCIENCES, vol.6, no.9, pp.3563-3572, 2013 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12517-012-0614-6
  • Page Numbers: pp.3563-3572


Flood inundation maps are dependent on the topographic and geomorphologic features of a wadi (drainage basin) in arid regions, which are most susceptible for potential flash flood occurrences, such as in the southwestern part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is not possible to control the potential flood hazards by using only technological instruments that forewarn the occurrences or imminence. Additionally, it would be better to prepare flood risk maps so as to delineate the risky areas to educate the administrators and local settlers. The availability of these maps is the key requirement for any urban development that entails land use allocation, identification of dam, tunnel, highway, bridge sites, and infrastructure locations for sustainable future. This paper suggests the necessary steps in flood inundation map preparation after determining the possible flood discharge. For this purpose, a set of critical cross-sections along the possible flood plain are taken in the field with surveying methods and measurements. The calculation of the average flow velocity in each section is calculated according to the cross-section geometric, hydraulic, and material properties. Synthetic rating curves (SRC) are prepared for each cross section, which are very useful especially in arid and semi-arid regions where there are no perennial surface water flows for natural rating curve measurements. All the SRCs appear in the form of power function which relates the flow depth to discharge in a given cross section. It is then possible to calculate the flood depth in the cross section through its SRC. Depending on the cross-section shape, the flood width can be calculated. The connection of a series of widths on a scaled topographic map delineates the flood inundation area. If digital elevation map (DEM) is available, then the SRCs can be integrated with these maps and the flood inundation delineation can be achieved automatically. Since DEMs are not available, the topographic maps are used for this purpose in order to delineate flood inundation areas within wadis Hali and Yiba from the southwestern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.