A Comparative Evaluation of Short-Term Streamflow Forecasting Using Time Series Analysis and Rainfall-Runoff Models in eWater Source

Dushmanta Dutta, Wendy D Welsh, Jai Vaze, Shaun Kim, David P Nicholls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past few decades, many numerical streamflow prediction techniques using observed time series (TS) have been developed and widely used in water resources planning and management. Recent advances in quantitative rainfall forecasting by numerical weather prediction (NWP) models have made it possible to produce improved streamflow forecasts using continuous rainfall-runoff (RR) models. In the absence of a suitable integrated system of NWP, RR and river system models, river operators in Australia mostly use spreadsheet-based tools to forecast streamflow using gauged records. The eWater Cooperative Research Centre of Australia has recently developed a new generation software package called eWater Source, which allows a seamless integration of continuous RR and river system models for operational and planning purposes. This paper presents the outcomes of a study that was carried out using Source for a comparative evaluation of streamflow forecasting by several well-known TS based linear techniques and RR models in two selected sub-basins in the upper Murray river system of the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia. The results were compared with the actual forecasts made by the Murray River operators and the observed data. The results show that while streamflow forecasts by the river operators were reasonably accurate up to day 3 and traditional TS based approaches were reasonably accurate up to 2 days. Well calibrated RR models can provide better forecasts for longer periods when using high quality quantitative precipitation forecasts. The river operators tended to underestimate large magnitude flows. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4397-4415
Number of pages19
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


Cite this