Index Method

5. Chapter 5 of 6. INDEX METHOD

5.1 General

In the Gascoyne, Pilbara and Goldfields areas, the techniques mentioned in ARR should be used with extreme caution. Although the Index Flood Method is being used as preferred technique for these regions, the results should be verified by anecdotal evidence particularly in the case of small (less than 1 km2) steep catchments.

5.2 Theoretical Considerations

A regional procedure based on regression analysis of flood frequency curves derived for many locations within Western Australia was developed by the Main Roads for estimation of peak flows up to the 2% Annual Exceedence Probability (AEP) in small to medium rural catchments. The procedure is referred to as the Index Flood Method and is based on multi-variate statistical regression analysis of representative flood peaks to catchment physical and meteorological characteristics. This method is described in detail in Australian Rainfall and Runoff.

In the regional analysis, Western Australia was divided into the four regions of the South West, the Wheatbelt, the North West and the Kimberley. Reliable streamflow data from stream gauging stations within each of these regions were used to derive flood frequency curves. In some regions, the areas are further sub-divided to reflect different soil types and vegetation. For each area, multi-variate regression analysis was carried out to relate the index peak discharge to such catchment characteristics as the catchment area, the mainstream length, stream slope, mean annual rainfall, degree of forest clearing etc. In most locations the 50% AEP or 2 year ARI peak discharge is used as the index flood except for the Wheatbelt and North West regions where the 5 year ARI peak discharge was used. The shape of the flood frequency curves derived for each location were also analysed and normalised to the index flood. The frequency factors so derived express the magnitudes of probabilistic peak discharges for a range of ARI as ratios of the index flood magnitude.

The formulae for the index floods method, corresponding frequency factors and worked examples for the various regions in Western Australia are described in Book IV of ARR Volume 1(p 16-21); 2001.


Australian Rainfall And Runoff; A Guide to Flood Estimation, Volume 1, 2001.
Australian Rainfall And Runoff; A Guide to Flood Estimation, Volume 2, 1987.

Acknowledgement of country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.

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