Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) have become a promising solution for increasing imperviousness by reducing water runoff volumes and flow rates, and improving water quality. However, the efficiency of these systems is dependent on soil hydraulic and physical properties, which in turn are spatially variable; however, this variability has been sparsely documented for urban areas, especially for road-side SuDS. In this study, the spatial variability of soil hydraulic properties, along with the uncertainty of these properties due to estimation methods, were investigated for three roadside SuDS in France (Paris region). Estimation methods were based on both in-situ infiltration tests and pedotransfer functions (PTFs). Results show high spatial variability in saturated hydraulic conductivity Ks
(up to 160% coefficient of variation), which is dominant relative to uncertainties in PTFs predictions and those induced by experimental errors. Many specific factors might be responsible for this variability, especially in the urban context, such as construction techniques, CaCO3
precipitation, and vegetation development. In order to evaluate the effects of this variability on hydrological performance, a hydrological model of a bioretention cell was tested. Simulations revealed that peak flows and volumes are highly affected by the spatial variability of soil hydraulic properties; notably, vertical variability increases the overflow by 50%. The number of infiltration measurements required to evaluate a representative average Ks
with an uncertainty of a factor of two or less was found to be four/eight, depending on the studied site. This study provides considerable insight into the spatial variability of soil hydraulic properties and its implications for hydrological performance of roadside SuDS, as it is based on a sound understanding of both theory and practice.
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