Assessing the Effects of Climate Change on Water Quantity and Quality in an Urban Watershed Using a Calibrated Stormwater Model
Assessing climate change (CC) impacts on urban watersheds is difficult due to differences in model spatial and temporal scales, making prediction of hydrologic restoration a challenge. A methodology was developed using an autocalibration tool to calibrate a previously developed Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) of Difficult Run in Fairfax, Virginia. Calibration was assisted by use of multi-objective optimization. Results showed a good agreement between simulated and observed data. Simulations of CC for the 2041–2068 period were developed using dynamically downscaled North American Regional CC Assessment Program models. Washoff loads were used to simulate water quality, and a method was developed to estimate treatment performed in stormwater control measures (SCMs) to assess water quality impacts from CC. CC simulations indicated that annual runoff volume would increase by 6.5%, while total suspended solids, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus would increase by 7.6%, 7.1%, and 8.1%, respectively. The simulations also indicated that within season variability would increase by a larger percentage. Treatment practices (e.g., bioswale) that were intended to mitigate the negative effects of urban development will need to deal with additional runoff volumes and nutrient loads from CC to achieve the required water quality goals.