Publications (FIS)

A Width Parameter Estimation Through Equivalent Rectangle Methodology for Hydraulic Modeling Applications

authored by
Jose Ricardo Bonilla Brenes, Rafael Oreamuno Vega, Jochen Hack

EPA SWMM hydraulic modeling requires the estimation of different parameters allowing the determination of the basin's response upon a given precipitation event. Some physical parameters, such as area or perimeter, are measurable and can be accurately determined; however, other parameter estimation presents greater uncertainty, such as the width parameter. For regular and uniform drainage areas, width parameter estimation is relatively simple; however, when a complete irregular basin analysis is required, width determination presents greater uncertainty, and its representativeness becomes complicated to define. Width determination is idealized with the representation of a rectangle, where, for an equal area, a higher width will result in a faster response of the basin, while a lower width will result in a slower response of the basin. This paper attempts to estimate a representative value of width for a realistic, irregularly shaped basin by defining the equivalent rectangle, which takes into account the area, perimeter, and compactness index of the basin. The compactness index can be used to classify the basin by its shape. The shape of the basin is an indicator of how the precipitation histograms are temporally distributed and how the water flows through the basin, i.e., it defines the response speed of the basin, as the width parameter does in modeling. The width parameter has a high sensitivity in the EPA SWMM modeling results; therefore, an inaccurate estimation of the parameter leads to unrepresentative results. For this reason, this study seeks to find an optimal methodology to reduce modeling uncertainty and achieve more accurate simulations of an irregular watershed's hydrological response.

Institute of Environmental Planning
External Organisation(s)
Universidad de Costa Rica
Journal of Water Management Modeling
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Civil and Structural Engineering, Geography, Planning and Development, Water Science and Technology
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)