Surface hydrology is recognised as an important component of general circulation climate models. The global and regional climates simulated by such models are demonstrably sensitive to the parameterization of terrestrial hydrologic processes. There exists, therefore, a clear requirement to evaluate different parameterization approaches in terms of the representation of the terrestrial phase of the hydrologic cycle. One potential means of meeting this requirement is by using available continental water-balance summaries. In this study three versions of a GCM, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Model Version l (CCM1), differing mainly in spatial resolution and the representation of the surface hydrology, are compared against existing water-balance studies. Additional streamflow data are incorporated as a means of further validating both the water-balance approach and the GCM surface hydrologic parameterization in capturing the gross features of continental-scale hydrology.