Flood Hazard Assessment along the Western Regions of Saudi Arabia using GIS-based Morphometry and Remote Sensing Techniques
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AbstractFlash flooding, as a result of excessive rainfall in a short period, is considered as one of the worst environmental hazards in arid regions. Areas located in the western provinces of Saudi Arabia have experienced catastrophic floods. Geomorphologic evaluation of hydrographic basins provides necessary information to define basins with flood hazard potential in arid regions, especially where long-term field observations are scarce and limited. Six large basins (from North to South: Yanbu, Rabigh, Khulais, El-Qunfza, Baish and Jizan) were selected for this study because they have large surface areas and they encompass high capacity dams at their downstream areas. Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing techniques were applied to conduct detailed morphometric analysis of these basins. The six basins were further divided into 203 sub-basins based on their drainage density. The morphometric parameters of the six basins and their associated 203 sub-basins were calculated to estimate the degree of flood hazard by combining normalized values of these parameters. Thus, potential flood hazard maps were produced from the estimated hazard degree. Furthermore, peak runoff discharge of the six basins and sub-basins were estimated using the Snyder Unit Hydrograph and three empirical models (Nouh’s model, Farquharson’s model and Al-Subai’s model) developed for Saudi Arabia. Additionally, recommendations for flood mitigation plans and water management schemes along these basins were further discussed.