Hydrologic processes that govern stormwater infrastructure behaviour


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Abstract

Using water budget data from published literature, we demonstrate how hydrologic processes govern the function of various stormwater infrastructure technologies. Hydrologic observations are displayed on a Water Budget Triangle, a ternary plot tool developed to visualize simplified water budgets, enabling side-by-side comparison of green and grey approaches to stormwater management. The tool indicates ranges of hydrologic function for green roofs, constructed wetlands, cisterns, bioretention, and other stormwater control management structures. Water budgets are plotted for several example systems to provide insight on structural and environmental design factors, and seasonal variation in hydrologic processes of stormwater management systems. Previously published water budgets and models are used to suggest appropriate operational standards for several green and grey stormwater control structures and compare between conventional and low-impact development approaches. We compare models, characterize and quantify water budgets and expected ranges for green and grey infrastructure systems, and demonstrate how the Water Budget Triangle tool may help users to develop a data-driven approach for understanding design and retrofit of green stormwater infrastructure.

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