Unit-Response Method of Open-Channel Flow Routing

by Vernon B. Sauer, Hydr.; U.S. Geological Survey, Oklahoma City, OK,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 1, Pg. 179-193

Document Type: Journal Paper


Unit-response flow routing is a technique of open-channel flow routing based on the unit hydrograph principle of lagging and superposition. The unit response is defined as the flow hydrograph at a downstream location resulting from a constant inflow of 1 cfs during a selected duration period, D, at an upstream location. It can be derived from actual records, but for general application it is derived synthetically by routing a translation hydrograph through reservoir storage to obtain an instantaneous unit response, and transforming this response to the selected D-hour unit response. Lag, or translation time, is used to account for flood-wave travel time in the channel. This can be varied with depth. Routing intervals of from 1 to 24 hr and routing reaches from 10 to 150 miles have been used successfully.

Subject Headings: Hydrographs | Travel time | Open channels | Open channel flow | Flow duration | Inflow | Reservoirs | Water storage

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