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In cooperation with the Harris County Flood Control District
and the City of Houston

Effects of Urban Development on Stormwater Runoff Characteristics for the Houston, Texas, Metropolitan Area

By Fred Liscum

U.S. Geological Survey
Water-Resources Investigations Report 01–4071


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pdf (5.36 MB)


Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Description of Study Area

Acknowledgments

Equations for Estimating Effects of Urban Development on Stormwater Runoff Characteristics

Stormwater Runoff Characteristics

Basin and Rainfall Characteristics

Regression Analysis

Regression Equations

Limitations on Values for Basin and Rainfall Characteristics

Evaluation of Regression Equations

Effects of Urban Development on Stormwater Runoff Characteristics

Characteristics That Define Magnitude of Stormwater Runoff

Characteristics That Describe Shape and Duration of Storm Hydrograph

Summary

References Cited

Figures

1.   Map showing location of study area and data-collection sites
2.   Storm discharge hydrograph showing stormwater runoff characteristics
3.   Graphs showing changes in indices of urban development with time for sites reflecting the smallest and largest increases in urban development during 1964–89
4.   Graphs showing observed versus predicted:
  a.   Peak flow (QPEAK) for all storms, by region
  b.   Basin lag (BLAG) for all storms, by region
5.   Graphs showing predicted values versus residuals for:
  a.   Peak flow (QPEAK) for all storms, by region
  b.   Basin lag (BLAG) for all storms, by region
6.   Stem-and-leaf plots showing distribution of residuals for:
  a.   Peak flow (QPEAK) for all storms, by region
  b.   Basin lag (BLAG) for all storms, by region
7.   Graphs showing observed versus predicted stormwater runoff characteristics for selected streamflow-gaging stations reflecting small and large increases in urban development, by region:
  a.   Peak flow (QPEAK)
  b.   Peak yield (YPEAK)
  c.   Direct runoff (ROVOL)
  d.   Direct runoff duration (RODUR)
  e.   Time of rise to peak flow (TRISE)
  f.   Duration of flow that equals or exceeds 75 percent of peak flow (Q75DUR)
  g.   Duration of flow that equals or exceeds 50 percent of peak flow (Q50DUR)
  h.   Time of recession from peak flow to base flow (TRECES)
  i.   Basin lag (BLAG)
8.   Hydrographs for:
  a.   080757770 Hunting Bayou at I–610 showing effects of no increase in basin development factor (BDF)
  b.   08075900 Greens Bayou at U.S. Hwy 75 showing effects of large increase in basin development factor (BDF)
  c.   08075550 Berry Bayou at Gilpin St. showing effects of small increase in basin development factor (BDF)
  d.   08074800 Keegans Bayou at Roark Rd. showing effects of large increase in basin development factor (BDF)

Tables

1.   Data-collection sites in the study area
2.   Stormwater runoff, basin, and rainfall characteristics
3.   Summary statistics for stormwater runoff, basin, and rainfall characteristics
4.   Regression equations for estimating selected stormwater runoff characteristics
5.   Maximum and minimum values of independent variables used to develop regression equations
6.   Standard error of regression between observed and predicted stormwater runoff characteristics for available storms at selected sites representing small and large increases in urban development
7.   Percent change in stormwater runoff characteristics for selected increases in basin developmentfactor

VERTICAL DATUM

Sea Level: In this report, “sea level” refers to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929—a geodetic datum derived from a general adjustment of the first-order level nets of both the United States and Canada, formerly called Sea Level Datum of 1929.


Abstract

A study was done to estimate the effects of urban development in the Houston, Texas, metropolitan area on nine stormwater runoff characteristics. Three of the nine characteristics define the magnitude of stormwater runoff, and the remaining six characteristics describe the shape and duration of a storm hydrograph. Multiple linear regression was used to develop equations to estimate the nine stormwater runoff characteristics from basin and rainfall characteristics. Five basin characteristics and five rainfall characteristics were tested in the regressions to determine which basin and rainfall characteristics significantly affect stormwater runoff characteristics. Basin development factor was found to be significant in equations for eight of the nine stormwater runoff characteristics. Two sets of equations were developed, one for each of two regions based on soil type, from a database containing 1,089 storm discharge hydrographs for 42 sites compiled during 1964–89.

The effects of urban development on the eight stormwater runoff characteristics were quantified by varying basin development factor in the equations and recomputing the stormwater runoff characteristics. The largest observed increase in basin development factor for region 1 (north of Buffalo Bayou) during the study resulted in corresponding increases in the characteristics that define magnitude of stormwater runoff ranging from about 40 percent (for direct runoff) to 235 percent (for peak yield); and corresponding decreases in the characteristics that describe hydrograph shape and duration ranging from about 22 percent (for direct runoff duration) to about 58 percent (for basin lag). The largest observed increase in basin development factor for region 2 (south of Buffalo Bayou) during the study resulted in corresponding increases in the characteristics that define magnitude of stormwater runoff ranging from about 33 percent (for direct runoff) to about 210 percent (for both peak flow and peak yield); and corresponding decreases in the characteristics that describe hydrograph shape and duration ranging from about 38 percent (for direct runoff duration) to about 64 percent (for basin lag).

 


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