Catchment area is an area from which a particular place obtains its water supply. This term is used to describe the geographical area within which water flows into a particular body of water, such as a lake, reservoir, river, or stream. Catchment areas are important for understanding the impact of human activities on water resources, and for designing and managing water systems. This article provides an overview of catchment area definition, characteristics, and applications.
The catchment area of a body of water is defined as the total area of land within a particular drainage basin (also known as a watershed) that contributes water to the body of water. The size and shape of the catchment area depends on the topography of the landscape, as well as the location and shape of the body of water. The boundaries of a catchment area are determined by the boundaries of the drainage basin.
Catchment areas can vary greatly in size, from very small areas (such as a single pond) to very large areas (such as the Great Lakes). Catchment areas are typically divided into smaller sub-catchment areas, referred to as sub-basins, which are further divided into even smaller sub-catchment areas. The sub-basins are usually identified and named according to their location and size.
Catchment areas typically contain several water sources, including rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and springs. The amount of water that enters into the body of water from these sources is determined by the catchment area’s hydrological characteristics, such as the amount of precipitation, the amount of evaporation, and the rate of groundwater recharge.
Catchment area analysis is used for a variety of applications, including water resource management, flood risk assessment, and land use planning. In water resource management, catchment area analysis is used to identify the sources of water for a particular body of water, and to determine the amount of water that can be safely taken from the water sources. This information is used to manage the water resources of an area and to ensure that water is used sustainably.
In flood risk assessment, catchment area analysis is used to identify areas that are more prone to flooding. This information is used to develop strategies for managing flood risk and to design flood defences.
In land use planning, catchment area analysis is used to determine the impact of land use activities on water resources. This information is used to ensure that land use activities are not detrimental to water resources.
Catchment area is an important concept in understanding and managing water resources. Catchment areas are determined by the boundaries of the drainage basin, and vary in size and shape depending on the topography of the landscape. Catchment area analysis is used for a variety of applications, including water resource management, flood risk assessment, and land use planning.
Berger, A. (2019). Catchment area. In Encyclopedia of Water Science (pp. 57-59). Elsevier.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. (2018). Catchment areas. Retrieved from https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/catchments/catchment-areas
National Park Service. (2020). What is a watershed? Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/subjects/watershed/what-is-a-watershed.htm