The effective rainfall-direct runoff transformation through the overland flow mechanism is investigated in 10 synthetic watersheds represented by a combination of planes and channels. Assuming the hydrograph computed by the nonlinear kinematic wave as a bench mark, two approximations are developed. The first considers the dynamics of the overland flow in each "real" plane through that on a fictitious plane with averaged properties. The second keeps the nonlinear kinematic approach for both the planes and first order channels (Horton-Strahler ordering scheme), while the water routing in the remaining channels is represented by a piecewise linearized formulation of the kinematic wave equation. Both the approximations were found to be reasonable, but the second appears of larger practical interest.
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