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International Journal of Hydrology Research

June 2017, Volume 2, 1, pp 1-12

Runoff Response to Climate Variability: An Analysis of Thika River Basin in Kenya Using Hydrological Simulation Model (Hysim)

Michael Maina Macharia


James M. Raude

Michael Maina Macharia 1

James M. Raude 2

  1. Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) c/o Tlemcen University, Pôle Chetouane, Tlemcen, Algeria 1

  2. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology Department of Water and Environmental Engineering Department Nairobi, Kenya 2

Pages: 1-12

DOI: 10.18488/journal.108.2017.21.1.12

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Article History:

Received: 19 May, 2017
Revised: 18 July, 2017
Accepted: 02 August, 2017
Published: 27 September, 2017


Changes in climatic conditions have greatly affected surface runoff and stream flows both at local and global scale. This has led to adverse effects on surface run off and climatic system as a whole. Research on these hydrological changes at basin scale is of great importance to the water managers for the future planning and management of water resources. In this study, a Hydrological simulation model (HYSIM) was used to simulate runoff and quantify the effects of climate variability on runoff within the area of study. The model was calibrated and validated giving a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.923, an RMSE of 0.56 and a BIAS of 1.697 respectively. The future climate of the catchment is projected to be warmer and, with less confidence, wetter as simulated using the IPCC scenarios. However, stream flow could increase by between 1.2% on the lower case to 4.5% on the higher case under these projections. There is therefore need to prepare for the increased runoff as it would affect the agricultural sector, industry, urban communities, as well as the environment.

Contribution/ Originality
This study documents the effects of climate variability on run off in Thika river basin and further simulates future possible occurrences using the Hydrological simulation model (HYSIM).


Thika catchment, Ndakaini dam, Rainfall run-off, Climate variability, Hydrological simulation model, (HYSIM).



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This study received no specific financial support.

Competing Interests:

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Both authors contributed equally to the conception and design of the study.

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