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Using a Distributed Hydrologic Model to Improve the Green Infrastructure Parameterization Used in a Lumped Model

1,2,*,† and 1,2
1
ReNUWIt Engineering Research Center, Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois St., Golden, CO 80401, USA
2
Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois St., Golden, CO 80401, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Enginuity Engineering Solutions, 10106 W. San Juan Way, Suite 215, Littleton, CO 80127, USA.
Water 2018, 10(12), 1756; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121756
Received: 12 October 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 25 November 2018 / Published: 29 November 2018
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Abstract

Stormwater represents a complex and dynamic component of the urban water cycle. Hydrologic models have been used to study pre- and post-development hydrology, including green infrastructure. However, many of these models are applied in urban environments with very little formal verification and/or benchmarking. Here we present the results of an intercomparison study between a distributed model (Gridded Surface Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis, GSSHA) and a lumped parameter model (the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Storm Water Management Model, EPA-SWMM) for an urban system. The distributed model scales to higher resolutions, allows for rainfall to be spatially and temporally variable, and solves the shallow water equations. The lumped model uses a non-linear reservoir method to determine runoff rates and volumes. Each model accounts for infiltration, initial abstraction losses, but solves the watershed flow equations in a different way. We use an urban case study with representation of green infrastructure to test the behavior of both models. Results from this case study show that when calibrated, the lumped model is able to represent green infrastructure for small storm events at lower implementation levels. However, as both storm intensity and amount of green infrastructure implementation increase, the lumped model diverges from the distributed model, overpredicting the benefits of green infrastructure on the system. We performed benchmark test cases to evaluate and understand key processes within each model. The results show similarities between the models for the standard cases for simple infiltration. However, as the domain increased in complexity the lumped model diverged from the distributed model. This indicates differences in how the models represent the physical processes and numerical solution approaches used between each. When the distributed model results were used to modify the representation of impermeable surface connections within the lumped model, the results were improved. These results demonstrate how complex, distributed models can be used to improve the formulation of lumped models. View Full-Text
Keywords: green infrastructure; stormwater runoff; runoff volume; peak flow; water quantity; urban stormwater; hydrology; modeling green infrastructure; stormwater runoff; runoff volume; peak flow; water quantity; urban stormwater; hydrology; modeling
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Fry, T.J.; Maxwell, R.M. Using a Distributed Hydrologic Model to Improve the Green Infrastructure Parameterization Used in a Lumped Model. Water 2018, 10, 1756.

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