USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

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Albany, CA 94710-0011
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Publications and Products

Title: Hydrological processes at the urban residential scale

Authors: Xiao, Q.; McPherson, E.G.; Simpson, J.R.; Ustin, S.L.

Date: 2007

Source Hydrological Processes 21: 2174-2188

Abstract: In the face of increasing urbanization, there is growing interest in application of microscale hydrologic solutions to minimize storm runoff and conserve water at the source. In this study, a physically based numerical model was developed to understand hydrologic processes better at the urban residential scale and the interaction of these processes among different best management practices (BMPs). This model simulates hydrologic processes using an hourly interval for over a full year or for specific storm events. The model was applied to treatment and control single-family residential parcels in Los Angeles, California. Data collected from the control and treatment sites over 2 years were used to calibrate and validate the model. Annual storm runoff to the street was eliminated by 97% with installation of rain gutters, a driveway interceptor, and lawn retention basin. Evaluated individually, the driveway interceptor was the most effective BMP for storm runoff reduction (65%), followed by the rain gutter installation (28%), and lawn converted to retention basin (12%). An 11 m3 cistern did not substantially reduce runoff, but provided 9% of annual landscape irrigation demand. Simulated landscape irrigation water use was reduced 53% by increasing irrigation system efficiency, and adjusting application rates monthly based on plant water demand. The model showed that infiltration and surface runoff processes were particularly sensitive to the soil's physical properties and its effective depth. Replacing the existing loam soil with clay soil increased annual runoff discharge to the street by 63% when climate and landscape features remained unchanged.

Keywords: hydrologic processes, residential scale, best management practice, urban runoff reduction, landscape irrigation water use

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    Xiao, Q.; McPherson, E. G.; Simpson, J. R.; Ustin, S. L. 2007. Hydrological processes at the urban residential scale. Hydrological Processes 21: 2174-2188.
Last Modified: August 12, 2020