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Funding details: Natural Environment Research Council, NERC, NE/R004722/1 Funding text 1: Work on this paper has been supported by the NERC Q‐NFM project led by Dr. Nick Chappell (grant no. NE/R004722/1). The paper has greatly benefitted from an excellent review and the recent work of Demetris Koutsoyiannis for which I am most grateful. References: Benson, M.A., Thoughts on the design of design floods (1973) Floods and droughts, Proceedings of the 2nd international symposium in hydrology, pp. 27-33. , Water Resour. Publ; Bertoni, G., Daemen, J., Peeters, M., Van Assche, G., Sponge-based pseudo-random number generators (2010) International workshop on cryptographic hardware and embedded systems, pp. 33-47. , Springer; Betson, R.P., What is watershed runoff (1964) Journal of Geophysical Research, 69, pp. 1541-1552; Beven, K.J., Hillslope runoff processes and flood frequency characteristics (1986) Hillslope processes, pp. 187-202. , A. D. 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