Simulating the Response of Urban Water Quality to Climate and Land Use Change in Partially Urbanized Basins

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Ning Sun1, John R Yearsley1, Bart Nijssen1 and Dennis P Lettenmaier1,2, (1)University of Washington Seattle Campus, Seattle, WA, United States, (2)University of California, Los Angeles (effective Nov., 2014), Dept. of Geography, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Urban stream quality is particularly susceptible to extreme precipitation events and land use change. Although the projected effects of extreme events and land use change on hydrology have been resonably well studied, the impacts on urban water quality have not been widely examined due in part to the scale mismatch between global climate models and the spatial scales required to represent urban hydrology and water quality signals. Here we describe a grid-based modeling system that integrates the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model (DHSVM) and urban water quality module adpated from EPA’s Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) and Soil and water assessment tool (SWAT). Using the model system, we evaluate, for four partially urbanized catchments within the Puget Sound basin, urban water quality under current climate conditions, and projected potential changes in urban water quality associated with future changes in climate and land use. We examine in particular total suspended solids, toal nitrogen, total phosphorous, and coliform bacteria, with catchment representations at the 150-meter spatial resolution and the sub-daily timestep. We report long-term streamflow and water quality predictions in response to extreme precipitation events of varying magnitudes in the four partially urbanized catchments. Our simulations show that urban water quality is highly sensitive to both climatic and land use change.