Assessing the Feasibility of a Cloud-Based, Spatially Distributed Modeling Approach for Tracking Green Stormwater Infrastructure Runoff Reductions

Scientific Publications

Data Mapping & GIS Sustainability

Published in Water.


Use of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) to mitigate urban runoff impacts has grown substantially in recent decades, but municipalities often lack an integrated approach to prioritize areas for implementation, demonstrate compelling evidence of catchment-scale improvements, and communicate stormwater program effectiveness. We present a method for quantifying runoff reduction benefits associated with distributed GSI that is designed to align with the spatial scale of information required by urban stormwater implementation. The model was driven by a probabilistic representation of rainfall events to estimate annual runoff and reductions associated with distributed GSI for various design storm levels. Raster-based calculations provide estimates on a 30-m grid, preserving unique combinations of drainage factors that drive runoff production, hydrologic storage, and infiltration benefits of GSI. The model showed strong correspondence with aggregated continuous runoff data from a set of urbanized catchments in Salinas, California, USA, over a three-year monitoring period and output sensitivity to the storm drain network inputs. Because the model runs through a web browser and the parameterization is based on readily available spatial data, it is suitable for nonmodeling experts to rapidly update GSI features, compare alternative implementation scenarios, track progress toward urban runoff reduction goals, and demonstrate regulatory compliance.