Thursday, 18 December 2014
Timothy J Fry and Reed M Maxwell, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, United States
Urbanization presents challenging water resource problems for communities worldwide. The hydromodifications associated with urbanization results in increased runoff rates and volumes and increased peak flows. These hydrologic changes can lead to increased erosion and stream destabilization, decreased evapotranspiration, decreased ground water recharge, increases in pollutant loading, and localized anthropogenic climate change or Urban Heat Islands. Stormwater represents a complex and dynamic component of the urban water cycle that requires careful mitigation. With the implementation of Phase II rules under the CWA, stormwater management is shifting from a drainage-efficiency focus to a natural systems focus. The natural system focus, referred to as Low Impact Development (LID), or Green Infrastructure, uses best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the impacts caused by urbanization hydromodification. Large-scale patterns of stormwater runoff from urban environments are complex and it is unclear what the large-scale impacts of green infrastructure are on the water cycle. High resolution physically based hydrologic models can be used to more accurately simulate the urban hydrologic cycle. These types of models tend to be more dynamic and allow for greater flexibility in evaluating and accounting for various hydrologic processes in the urban environment that may be lost with lower resolution conceptual models. We propose to evaluate the effectiveness of high resolution models to accurately represent and determine the urban hydrologic cycle with the overall goal of being able to accurately assess the impacts of LID BMPs in urban environments. We propose to complete a rigorous model intercomparison between ParFlow and FLO-2D. Both of these models can be scaled to higher resolutions, allow for rainfall to be spatially and temporally input, and solve the shallow water equations. Each model is different in the way it accounts for infiltration, initial abstraction losses, and urban structures. The intercomparison of these models will help identify key areas of urban hydrology that can be used by agencies in developing design guidelines used in assessing LIDs in urban environments.