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Estimating the surface runoff from natural environment data

Franciane Mendonça dos Santos (University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)
José Augusto de Lollo (Sao Paulo State University, São Paulo, Brazil)
Frederico Fabio Mauad (University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to estimate quick and low-cost processes for surface runoff potential on the basis of natural environmental attributes.


An approach based on the natural environmental attributes and on the Cook’s method was used for maximal peak flows of surface runoff, as well as for assigning weights to the considered attributes. Used attributes are as follow: steepness, bedrock (lithology), soil (texture, genesis, thickness, and permeability coefficient), drainage density, and favorable features to surface storage.


Using natural environmental attributes from previous available studies, adapted from different scales, the authors obtain a low-cost potential surface runoff chart, which can be useful for planning, impact and hazard analysis, and decision purposes in an area without large financial resources, like small communities in developing countries. Despite the common scarcity of data in these communities, often regional basic studies of soil and bedrock are available, making this kind of analysis possible.


The highlights are quick and low-cost procedures in characterizing the natural environment for planning activities, providing the basis for further detailing, which focus on solving local problems. This approach to runoff estimation allows for the definition of the criteria, considering the potential geodynamic processes. Thus, this kind of study may be very useful for land use planning in developing countries.



dos Santos, F.M., de Lollo, J.A. and Mauad, F.F. (2017), "Estimating the surface runoff from natural environment data", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 515-531.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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