"1. That part of the precipitation, snow melt, or irrigation water that appears in uncontrolled surface streams, rivers, drains or sewers. Runoff may be classified according to speed of appearance after rainfall or melting snow as direct runoff or base runoff, and according to source as surface runoff, storm interflow, or groundwater runoff. 2. The total discharge described in (1), above, during a specified period of time. 3. Also defined as the depth to which a drainage area would be covered if all of the runoff for a given period of time were uniformly distributed over it." (U.S. Geological Survey, 2019)


U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). "Water Science Glossary Terms". USGS Water Science School. (2019). Link:

Related Content


Monitoring runoff using Earth observation data

When rain falls on Earth, the water starts moving and flowing downhill through sewers and rivers as runoff. Runoff is extremely important to recharge surface water bodies and groundwater. Furthermore, runoff changes the landscape by action of erosion. It is an integral part of the water cycle (Earth Science Data Systems 2021). 

Monitoreando la escorrentía mediante datos de observación de la Tierra

Translated by Isabel Zetina

Cuando la lluvia cae sobre la Tierra, el agua empieza a moverse y a fluir cuesta abajo a través de alcantarillas y ríos en forma de escorrentía. La escorrentía es extremadamente importante para recargar las masas de agua de la superficie y las aguas subterráneas. Además, la escorrentía modifica el paisaje por acción de la erosión. Es una parte integral del ciclo del agua (Earth Science Data Systems 2021). 

Space technology observing the effects of forests on watersheds

Have you ever heard the phrase "All the rivers run into the sea"? In most cases, this statement holds, with one exception: rivers that end up in lakes. If you imagine mountain ranges as the walls of a bathtub, the ocean is like the bottom of the bathtub, collecting all the water from the bathtub. No matter where you live, you inhabit a land area where all the water, above and below ground, converges into a common body of water (Figure 1). We call this area a watershed. Watersheds vary in size.



Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water

The Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) is a scientific prize with a focus on innovation. Established in 2002 by HRH Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, it rewards the efforts made by scientists, inventors and research organizations around the world which contribute to the sustainable availability of potable water and the alleviation of the escalating global problem of water scarcity.

Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology Pantnagar

G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, also known as Pantnagar University, is the first agricultural university in India. The University lies in the campus town of Pantnagar in Kichha Tehseel and in the district of Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand. The university is regarded as the harbinger of the Green Revolution in India. Pantnagar University is regarded as a significant force in the development and transfer of High Yielding Variety of seeds and related technology.

Center for Space Science and Geomatics Studies (CSSGS), Pashchimanchal Campus, Institute of Engineering (IOE), Tribhuvan University

The Center for Space Science and Geomatics Studies (CSSGS) is the research center with a focus on space science and geomatics applications in the following themes: disaster management, water quality, glacier, precision agriculture, air pollution, water pollution. Research areas also focus on the application of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in forestry, agriculture and engineering.