Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2011, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (6): 1077-1088.doi: 10.1007/s11442-011-0901-2

• Earth Surface Process • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Morphometric analysis of the drainage system and its hydrological implications in the rain shadow regions, Kerala, India


  1. 1. Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram-695 581, Kerala, India;
    2. Department of Geology, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram-695 581, Kerala, India;
    3. Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, Sub-Centre, Kottayam, Kerala, India
  • Received:2010-02-04 Revised:2010-08-30 Online:2011-12-15 Published:2011-10-03
  • Contact: Sabu Joseph, E-mail:
  • About author:Jobin Thomas, E-mail:


The rain shadow regions requisite a comprehensive watershed development and management plan for sustainable water resources management. The Pambar River Basin (PRB) lies on the rain shadow region of the southern Western Ghats, India, where climate showed marked intra-basin variation. A morphometric analysis was done to evaluate the drainage characteristics of PRB using topographical maps and digital elevation data. PRB was divided into eighteen 4th order basins (SB1-SB18), distributed along various climatic gradients. Lower order streams mostly dominate PRB and drainage pattern is a function of relief and structure. The terrain is highly dissected and prone to soil erosion during heavy storms and the elongated shape of PRB enables easier flood management. The influence of climate on drainage characteristics was evidently emphasized in basin morphometry. Four distinctively different classes were identified based on the morphometric similarities. The significance of morphometric analysis on the hydrological characterization is discussed and the relevance of the present study in water harvesting has been explicated.

Key words: morphometry, drainage basin, Pambar River, Western Ghats, India