Determining drainage pattern using dem data for nonpoint-source water quality modeling

Jehng-Jung Kao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The drainage pattern of a watershed is an important parameter in nonpoint-source water quality modeling. Manual preparation of this pattern from topographic maps is time-consuming and sometimes subjective. Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data are fundamental cartographic data stored in a uniform grid system which can be easily processed by the computer. Using DEM data and a set of pre-defined rules, the drainage pattern can be automatically determined. Six grid-based methods have been developed, and three of them have been tested for a case study, an area enclosing a subwatershed of Chin-Mei River, Taipei County, Taiwan, R.O.C. The results are comparable to the manually prepared drainage pattern, although several complexities exist for areas such as depression and highly irregular areas. Several refined rules based on the drainage patterns in adjacent areas are utilized to modify the drainage patterns in these areas. Compared with the conventional manual method, the proposed automated methods are much more efficient for regional water quality studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1431-1438
Number of pages8
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1992
EventProceedings of the 16th Biennial Conference of the International Association on Water Pollution Research and Control - Water Quality International '92 - Washington, DC, USA
Duration: 24 May 199230 May 1992


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