Urbanization leads to the replacement of natural areas by impervious surfaces and affects the catchment hydrological cycle with adverse environmental impacts. Low impact development tools (LID) that mimic hydrological processes of natural areas have been developed and applied to mitigate these impacts. Hydrological simulations are one possibility to evaluate the LID performance but the associated small-scale processes require a highly spatially distributed and explicit modeling approach. However, detailed data for model development are often not available for large urban areas, hampering the model parameterization. In this paper we propose a methodology to parameterize a hydrological model to a large, ungauged urban area by maintaining at the same time a detailed surface discretization for direct parameter manipulation for LID simulation and a firm reliance on available data for model conceptualization. Catchment delineation was based on a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) and model parameterization relied on a novel model regionalization approach. The impact of automated delineation and model regionalization on simulation results was evaluated for three monitored study catchments (5.87–12.59 ha). The simulated runoff peak was most sensitive to accurate catchment discretization and calibration, while both the runoff volume and the fit of the hydrograph were less affected.
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