Small Storm Hydrology and Why it is Important for the Design of Stormwater Control Practices
Different drainage design criteria and receiving water use objectives often require the examination of different types of rains for the design of urban drainage systems. These different (and often conflicting) objectives of a stormwater drainage system can be addressed by using distinct portions of the long-term rainfall record. Several historical examinations (including Heaney, et al. 1977) have also considered the need for the examination of a wide range of rain events for drainage design. However, the lack of efficient computer resources severely restricted long-term analyses in the past.
Currently, computer resources are much more available and are capable of much more comprehensive investigations (Gregory and James 1996). In addition to having more efficient computational resources, it is also necessary to re-examine some of the fundamental urban hydrology modeling assumptions (Pitt 1987). Most of the urban hydrology methods currently used for drainage design have been successfully used for large "design" storms.
Obviously, this approach (providing urban areas safe from excessive flooding and associated flood related damages) is the most critical objective of urban drainage. However, it is now possible (and legally required in many areas) to provide urban drainage systems that also minimize other problems associated with urban stormwater. This broader set of urban drainage objectives requires a broader approach to drainage design, and the use of hydrologic methods with different assumptions and simplifications.
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