Interpreting characteristic drainage timescale variability across Kilombero Valley, Tanzania

Steve W. Lyon*, Alexander Koutsouris, Friedemann Scheibler, Jerker Jarsjö, Rene Mbanguka, Madaka Tumbo, Keven K. Robert, Asha N. Sharma, Ype van der Velde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We explore seasonal variability and spatiotemporal patterns in characteristic drainage timescale (K) estimated from river discharge records across the Kilombero Valley in central Tanzania. K values were determined using streamflow recession analysis with a Brutsaert-Nieber solution to the linearized Boussinesq equation. Estimated K values were variable, comparing between wet and dry seasons for the relatively small catchments draining upland positions. For the larger catchments draining through valley bottoms, K values were typically longer and more consistent across seasons. Variations in K were compared with long-term averaged, Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer-derived monthly evapotranspiration. Although the variations in K were potentially related to evapotranspiration, the influence of data quality and analysis procedure could not be discounted. As such, even though recession analysis offers a potential approach to explore aquifer release timescales and thereby gain insight to a region's hydrology to inform water resources management, care must be taken when interpreting spatiotemporal shifts in K in connection with process representation in regions like the Kilombero Valley.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1912-1924
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2015


  • Characteristic drainage timescale
  • Kilombero Valley
  • Streamflow recession analysis
  • Water resources management


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