Field Monitoring and SWMM Modeling Applied to a Rural Intermittent Watershed

Kyle Moynihan and Jose Vasconcelos


The Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) has proven very effective in modeling urban/suburban watersheds since its conception in 1969. While heavily implemented in the simulation of urban watersheds, its performance in strictly rural watersheds has been less frequently evaluated. This paper presents an ongoing research effort in a rural, 600-acre site, located in Pittsview, AL and owned by the Alabama Associated General Contractors (AGC). The site is positioned at the headwaters of a watershed that contributes to the Hatchechubbee Creek, which then discharges into the Chattahoochee River north of Eufala, AL. The streams running in the watershed are intermittent, but areas of large streambed erosion indicate large rainfall-runoff events. A network of rain gauges, associated with a portable weather station, two monitoring wells and two stream weirs have been deployed and are continuously recording information that will offer insights of the local water budget. This information in turn will help in the design of a proposed recreational pond system. The collected field data has also been used in a SWMM model that provides a representation of the rainfall-runoff processes in the watershed, as well as the observed flows in the streams. As more insight is obtained with regards to the local water cycle, it is anticipated that the SWMM model calibration will improve, which in turn will facilitate and provide greater confidence on the design tasks related to the proposed pond system.

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