Lowland catchment hydrology
Around the world, lowland areas are often densely populated and centers of economic activity and transport. The lack of topography, however, makes them vulnerable to flooding, climate change, and deterioration of water quality. Hydrological models can be used by water managers as a tool for early warning, risk assessment and infrastructure design. However, the models that are commonly used in lowland areas are often high-dimensional (groundwater or hydraulic) models. Low-dimensional models have typically been designed for use in mountainous catchments.
The title of my PhD thesis reflects the two-part research question: (1) what are the dominant catchment processes determining a lowland river's response to rainfall and (2) how can these processes be represented in simple hydrological models? For both of these questions, I focussed on topics which are important for lowland areas: (1) the relation between catchment storage and discharge, (2) the coupling between shallow groundwater and unsaturated zone, (3) activation of flowroutes at different stages of wetness and (4) the feedback between groundwater and surface water.