Impact of the spatial distribution of imperviousness on the hydrologic response of an urbanizing basin

Alfonso I. Mejía, Glenn E. Moglen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

An event-based model is used to investigate the impact of the spatial distribution of imperviousness on the hydrologic response of a basin characterized by an urban land use. The impact of the spatial distribution of imperviousness is investigated by accounting for its location within the basin when estimating the generated runoff and the hydrologic response. The event model accounts for infiltration and saturation excess; the excess runoff is routed to the outlet using a geomorphologic unit hydrograph. To represent the spatial distribution of rainfall and imperviousness, radar and remotely derived data are used, respectively. To estimate model parameters and analyse their behaviour, a split sample test and parameter sensitivity analysis are performed. From the analysis of parameters, we found the impervious cover tends to increase the sensitivity and storm dependency of channel routing parameters. The calibrated event model is used to investigate the impact of the imperviousness gradient by estimating and comparing hydrographs at internal locations in the basin. From this comparison, we found the urban land use and the spatial variability of rainfall can produce bigger increases in the peak flows of less impervious areas than the most urbanized ones in the basin. To examine the impacts of the imperviousness pattern, scenarios typifying extreme cases of sprawl type and clustered development are used while accounting for the uncertainty in parameters and the initial condition. These scenarios show that the imperviousness pattern can produce significant changes in the response at the main outlet and at locations internal to the overall watershed. Overall, the results indicate the imperviousness pattern can be an influential factor in shaping the hydrologic response of an urbanizing basin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3359-3373
Number of pages15
JournalHydrological Processes
Volume24
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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