A number of hydrological models use a distribution function to develop the non-linear rainfall–runoff catchment response. In this study the beta function is applied to represent a distribution of soil moisture storages in conjunction with a fast and slow pathway routing. The BETA3 and BETA4 modules, presented in this paper, have a distribution of discrete storage elements that have variable and redistributed water levels at each timestep. The PDM-BETA5 is an analytical solution with a similar structure to the commonly used probability distribution model (PDM). Model testing was performed on three catchments in the Northern Pennine region in England. The performances of the BETA models were compared with a commonly used formulation of the PDM. The BETA models performed marginally better than the PDM in calibration and parameter estimation was better with the BETA models than for the PDM. The BETA models had a small advantage in validation on the hydrologically fast responding test catchments.

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