Application of the Standardised Streamflow Index for Hydrological Drought Monitoring in the Western Cape Province, South Africa: A Case Study in the Berg River Catchment



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Water (Switzerland)






hydrological drought, Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), Standardised Streamflow Index (SSI)


In many regions around the world, drought has been recurrent, more frequent, and more intense over time. Hence, scientific research on drought monitoring has become more urgent in recent years. The aim of this study was to test the applicability of the Standardised Streamflow Index (SSI) for hydrological drought monitoring in the Berg River catchment (BRC), Western Cape (WC) province, South Africa (SA). Using various methods described in this study, the sensitivity of the SSI to the commonly used Gamma, Log-normal, Log-logistic, Pearson Type III, and Weibull Probability Distribution Functions (PDFs) was tested. This study has found that all the tested PDFs produced comparable results for mild to severe drought conditions. The SSI calculated using the Gamma, Log-Normal, and Weibull PDFs is recommended for the BRC because it consistently identified extreme drought conditions during the 1990–2022 study period and identified the 2015–2018 droughts as the worst during the study period. Although more studies are required to test other PDFs not considered, this study has shown that the SSI can be applicable in the BRC. This study has provided a foundation for more research on the application of the SSI in the BRC and other catchments in SA.

Open Access