Hydrologic-hydraulic model for simulating dual drainage and flooding in urban areas: Application to a catchment in the metropolitan area of Chicago

Leonardo S. Nanía, Arturo S. León, Marcelo H. García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A one-dimensional (1D) hydrologic-hydraulic model for simulating dual drainage in urban areas is presented. It consists of four modules: (1) rainfall-runoff transformation, (2) 1D flow routing on a street network, (3) flow interception at street inlets, and (4) flow interaction between surface water on the streets and the underground storm-water system by interfacing with the EPA-SWMM5 engine (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Storm Water Management Model). The hydrologic model (first module) transforms rainfall to runoff using the kinematic wave approximation and simulates the infiltration process with the Green-Ampt method. The street network model (second module) is based on a finite-volume shock-capturing scheme that solves the fully conservative Saint-Venant equations and can be used to model both subcritical and supercritical flows. The inlet model (third module) computes the amount of water intercepted by inlets. The formulation of boundary conditions at the street crossings is generalized and can be used for any number of streets, any combination of inflowing and outflowing streets, and flow regime (e.g., subcritical and supercritical flows). Flow interaction between surface water on the streets and underground storm-water system is achieved by interfacing the proposed model with EPA-SWMM5. This interaction allows flow to enter from streets to the underground storm-water system and vice versa. The proposed model has several potential applications such as the identification of critical zones for flooding (e.g., zones with high water depths and flow velocities) in urban developments and can be used to take appropriate measures for drainage control (e.g., to increase number and/or size of inlets), to determine the consequences of different degrees of inlet clogging, and to assess flooding hazards through the application of suitable hazard criteria. A summary of criteria used for storm-water hazard assessment is presented. To demonstrate the dual-drainage model's potential, an application is performed in a catchment of the metropolitan area of Chicago, Illinois. The results obtained are promising and show that the model can be a useful tool for storm-water management and flooding hazard assessment in urban areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04014071
JournalJournal of Hydrologic Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Coupled model
  • Dual drainage
  • Flood hazard
  • Hazard criterion
  • Hydraulic model
  • Hydrologic model
  • Stormwater management
  • Street crossing
  • Street network
  • Urban storm drainage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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