Flood Damage Reduction in Urban Areas with Use of Low Impact Development Designs

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2018


Urbanization and land development in Ellicott City, Maryland, has led to flooding twice in the past five years. Flooding, resulting from the Patapsco River catchment area and excess precipitation, has been devastating to this East Coast town. Lowimpact development (LID) designs in urban storm water drainage can lower peak discharges during flood events. LID practices consist of material and construction designs such as permeable pavements for parking lots and sidewalks, green rooftops, rain gardens, retention cisterns, and natural rehabilitation. This study utilizes Environmental Protection Agency Storm Water Management Modeling (EPA SWMM) software to model the catchment area while implementing LID land areas. SWMM is capable of implementing LID practices such as permeable pavements and grass ways in the existing landscape in the catchment area. Watershed was delineated with the aid of geographic information systems and soil and water assessment tool. United States Geological Survey river gauge station provided stream discharge information needed for flow volume estimates. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration precipitation records for different storm events were routed through the catchment area for peak flood scenarios. Existing land useand implementation of LID scenarios were compared resulting in an EPA SWMM prediction of flood reduction of 5.4% and 7.5% with the use of green roofs and permeable pavements, respectively for the considered storm event. This study showed LID designs have the potential to reduce flood peak, resulting in economic and social benefits.


Urban, Community and Regional Planning



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