The geomorphological instantaneous unit hydrograph (IUH) proposed by Gupta et al. (1980) was compared with the IUH derived by commonly used time-area and Nash methods. This comparison was performed by analyzing the effective rainfall-direct runoff relationship for four large basins in Central Italy ranging in area from 934 to 4,147 km2.
The Nash method was found to be the most accurate of the three methods. The geomorphological method, with only one parameter estimated in advance from the observed data, was found to be little less accurate than the Nash method which has two parameters determined from observations. Furthermore, if the geomorphological and Nash methods employed the same information represented by basin lag, then they produced similar accuracy provided the other Nash parameter, expressed by the product of peak flow and time to peak, was empirically assessed within a wide range of values. It was concluded that it was more appropriate to use the geomorphological method for ungaged basins and the Nash method for gaged basins.