Validation of SCS Method for Runoff Estimation
The Soil Conservation Service (SCS) method is widely used to estimate runoff from small- to medium-sized watersheds. The most critical assumption of the SCS method is that the ratio of actual retention to potential retention is the same as the ratio of actual runoff to potential runoff; however, this assumption has not been empirically validated. The paper develops a framework to test this proportionality assumption that underpins the SCS method. Using data on rainfall intensity and storm runoff from 210 site events from Australia and Southeast Asian countries, this paper shows that a strong relationship exists between maximum retention on the basis of the SCS equation and the product of effective storm duration and spatially averaged maximum infiltration rate, and empirical support exists for the proportionality assumption for runoff estimation. Relating the maximum retention to the effective storm duration and maximum infiltration rate provides additional avenues for prediction of storm runoff amount and peak runoff rate, which are the key design parameters for storm water control and management.
Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
Water Resources Engineering