Spatial and Time Variable Long Term Infiltration Rates of Green Infrastructure under Extreme Climate Conditions, Drought and Highly Intensive Rainfall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Swales are widely used Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) that can reduce peak flow, collect and retain water and improve groundwater recharge. Most previous research has focused on the unsaturated infiltration rates of swales without considering the variation in infiltration rates under extreme climate events, such as multiple stormwater events after a long drought period. Therefore, fieldwork was carried out to collect hydraulic data of three swales under drought conditions followed by high precipitation. For this simulation, a new full-scale infiltration method was used to simulate five rainfall events filling up the total storage volume of the swales under drought conditions. The results were then compared to earlier research under regular circumstances. The results of this study show that three swales situated in the same street show a variation in initial infiltration capacity of 1.6 to 11.9 m/d and show higher infiltration rates under drought conditions. The saturated infiltration rate is up to a factor 4 lower than the initial unsaturated rate with a minimal rate of 0.5 m/d, close to the minimum required infiltration rate. Significant spatial and time variable infiltration rates are also found at similar research locations with multiple green infrastructures in close range. If the unsaturated infiltration capacity is used as the design input for computer models, the infiltration capacity may be significantly overestimated. The innovative method and the results of this study should help stormwater managers to test, model, plan and schedule maintenance requirements with more confidence, so that they will continue to perform satisfactorily over their intended design lifespan.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • drought
  • infiltration of stormwater
  • green infrastructure
  • nature-based solutions
  • bioretention
  • hydrologic performance
  • full-scale testing

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