Transmission losses through the bed of ephemeral rivers in arid and semiarid regions can account for a large proportion of the total amount of runoff generated upstream. Losses have typically been estimated by measuring discharge at two points in the channel system. This paper presents some results from a semiarid catchment in South Africa based on moisture observations of the alluvial material using neutron probe access tubes. Channel flow in this catchment is a very infrequent occurrence and consequently presents few opportunities to observe the processes of transmission loss. Only two events have occurred since the beginning of observations in this area (3 October, and 14 November, 1989). the available information is far from complete but suggests that some 75 per cent of the upstream flow in the first event and 22 per cent in the second event was lost to the alluvial material.
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