Evaluating resilience for existing drainage systems: from theory to applied modeling

Gilles Rivard


Resilience, as applied to urban storm drainage systems and specifically considering climate change and rapid urbanization, has become in recent years a fundamental objective for designers and managers.  Many publications include references to reliability, risk and resilience, but there is a considerable gap between theory and actual implementation by drainage professionals. Two recent Canadian drainage standards provide background information and general context for resilience in urban drainage systems, for new developments (CSA W204) and existing systems (W210). For new developments, many design guidelines in Canada have already been imposing for some years an approach based on the application of the dual drainage principle. For existing and older areas however, the analysis and approach to evaluate resilience, level of service and appropriate interventions to upgrade are not straightforward and it is in many cases difficult to quantify the impacts of different interventions and the order of priority for their implementation.

Building and expanding from a recent paper by various drainage professionals across Canada involved with the creation of the CSA standards, this presentation will first briefly review the global approaches used to consider resilience in urban drainage systems, both for new and existing areas. The focus of the presentation will however be on the analysis and modeling to evaluate existing systems using dual drainage principles, LiDAR data that are now widely available in urban areas and a deeper understanding of the major system provided by modeling tools. Both for designers and managers, this type of analysis is at the core of upgrading programs for older systems that need to be modified in order to be more resilient when exposed to extreme meteorological events. 

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