Evaluating Sponge City volume capture ratio at the catchment scale using SWMM

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China has begun a rapid move towards Sponge City implementation, which will include widespread installation of various Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater infrastructure. Ambitious goals have been set for all Sponge Cities, including a target capture rate of 80–85% of annual precipitation in Beijing. However, there has so far been limited investigation into whether these goals are obtainable at the catchment scale given the physical restrictions of the existing urban landscape. This paper demonstrates the use of long-term continuous hydrologic modelling to evaluate the potential of meeting rainfall capture goals over a long time period for a case study area in Beijing. Detailed land cover classification derived from satellite imagery aided in the parameterization of a SWMM (Stormwater Management Model) model representing a 133 km2 urban study area. The calibrated and validated model demonstrated satisfactory agreement between computed and observed runoff for a variety of precipitation events ranging from 10 to 207 mm. A synthetic high resolution rainfall time series was generated from historic daily observations then used as input to run the model continuously for a 35 year period. Feasible LID model scenarios based on varying degrees of implementation of rain gardens, permeable pavements and green roofs were compared in terms of their potential volume capture of annual rainfall. Modelling results demonstrated that the conversion of 30% of roof area to green roof, 10% of green areas to rain gardens and 35% of paved areas to permeable pavement could increase the baseline volume capture ratio from 59.9% to 82.2%, indicating that Sponge City goals can be met within the case study area with realistic levels of LID implementation. This study provides a decision-making basis for future planning in the study area.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Pages (from-to)745-757
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2019

    Research areas

  • China, Continuous modelling, Low impact development, Sponge city, SWMM, Volume capture ratio

ID: 223875355