Articles | Volume 17, issue 9
Research article
12 Sep 2013
Research article |  | 12 Sep 2013

Contribution of directly connected and isolated impervious areas to urban drainage network hydrographs

Y. Seo, N.-J. Choi, and A. R. Schmidt

Abstract. This paper addresses the mass balance error observed in runoff hydrographs in urban watersheds by introducing assumptions regarding the contribution of infiltrated rainfall from pervious areas and isolated impervious area (IIA) to the runoff hydrograph. Rainfall infiltrating into pervious areas has been assumed not to contribute to the runoff hydrograph until Hortonian excess rainfall occurs. However, mass balance analysis in an urban watershed indicates that rainfall infiltrated to pervious areas can contribute directly to the runoff hydrograph, thereby offering an explanation for the long hydrograph tail commonly observed in runoff from urban storm sewers. In this study, a hydrologic analysis based on the width function is introduced, with two types of width functions obtained from both pervious and impervious areas, respectively. The width function can be regarded as the direct interpretation of the network response. These two width functions are derived to obtain distinct response functions for directly connected impervious areas (DCIA), IIA, and pervious areas. The results show significant improvement in the estimation of runoff hydrographs and suggest the need to consider the flow contribution from pervious areas to the runoff hydrograph. It also implies that additional contribution from flow paths through joints and cracks in sewer pipes needs to be taken into account to improve the estimation of runoff hydrographs in urban catchments.