Modeling and assessment of hydrological changes in a developing urban catchment

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Guan, M ; Sillanpää, N ; Koivusalo, H (2015)
  • Publisher: Wiley

Urbanization strongly changes natural catchment by increasing impervious coverage and by creating a need for efficient drainage systems. Such land cover changes lead to more rapid hydrological response to storms and change distribution of peak and low flows. This study aims to explore and assess how gradual hydrological changes occur during urban development from rural area to a medium-density residential catchment. The Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) is utilized to simulate a series of scenarios in a same developing urban catchment. Sub-hourly hydro-meteorological data in warm season is used to calibrate and validate the model in the fully developed catchment in 2006. The validated model is then applied to other cases in development stage and runoff management scenarios. Based on the simulations and observations, three key problems are solved: (1) how catchment hydrology changes with land cover change; (2) how urban development changes pre-development flows; (3) how stormwater management techniques affect catchment hydrology. The results show that the low-frequency flow rates had remarkably increased from 2004 to 2006 along with the increase of impervious areas. Urbanization in the residential catchment expands the runoff contributing area, accelerates hydrological response, raises peak flows in an order of magnitude of over 10, and more than doubles the total runoff volume. The effects of several LID controls on runoff hydrograph were simulated, and the techniques were able to reduce flows towards the pre-development levels. However, the partly restored flow regime was still clearly changed in comparison to the pre-development flow conditions.
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