Using multi-scale modeling to assess the impact of LID implementation scenarios under current and future precipitation patterns in a semi-arid, flood-prone residential neighborhood

Daniel Phillips and Kamrul Hasan


The management of stormwater and wastewater is a critical challenge in urban sustainability.  In semi-arid regions of the US and beyond, this challenge is especially urgent due to rapidly changing precipitation patterns, which are projected to produce more intense storms, even as overall yearly rainfall decreases. This underscores the urgent need for low-cost Low Impact Development (LID) strategies that are uniquely suited to semi-arid environments and capable of capturing and remediating urban runoff. The study area, known as the Heart of Lubbock (HoL) community, is situated in the semi-arid city of Lubbock, Texas. It comprises one square mile of surface area, 1881 parcels, and over 3000 built structures. The proposed presentation and paper describe the process of developing combined 1D/2D hydrological “digital twin” models of HoL using PCSWMM. Models (still in pre-validation stage) incorporate relevant catchment characteristics and above ground (“major”) features, as well as below ground (“minor”) stormwater conveyance features (roads, catch-basins, stormwater pipes, etc). This digital twin is utilized to assess the cumulative impacts of LID implementation under various upscaling scenarios, and under current vs. future precipitation patterns under climate change.  Preliminary results indicate significant reduction in peak flows, overall runoff volume, and reduction in flood risk, particularly under small to mid-size events.

The study adds robustness to the literature examining how modelling can be more effectively utilized by Landscape Architecture researchers and practitioners to evaluate the likely impact of site-scale interventions on the larger watersheds in which those sites are situated. It also offers practical guidance related to incorporating and parameterizing common LID objects such as curb cuts, swales and bioretention basins.

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 Click here to watch recorded presentation on YouTube.

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