Urbanization: Hydrologic-Hydraulic-Damage Effects

by Stuart G. Walesh, (M.ASCE), Water Resources Engr.; Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Waukesha, Wisc.,
Randolph M. Videkovich, (A.M.ASCE), Water Resources Engr.; CH2M Hill, Milwaukee, Wisc.; formerly, Sr. Engr., Southern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Waukesha, Wisc.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 2, Pg. 141-155

Document Type: Journal Paper


An effective conceptual approach to determining the consequences of land-use changes on flood flows, stages, and damage involves partitioning the watershed land surface into floodland and nonfloodland areas. A hydrologic-hydraulic-flood damage model consisting of a combination of continuous process and steady-state computer programs is presented as a potentially effective analytic tool. The model is used to assess the impact of seven combinations of floodland and nonfloodland development on a 136-sq mile (352 - km²) urbanizing watershed in southeastern Wisconsin. Under conditions of complete urbanization of the presently undeveloped floodland and nonfloodland areas in the watershed the 100-yr flood discharge may be expected to increase, relative to existing conditions, by a median factor of 1.9; the predicted median increase in 100-yr flood stages is 4.5 ft (1.4-m); and average annual flood damage for four flood-prone reaches may be expected to increase by factors of 2.4 to 8.5.

Subject Headings: Watersheds | Flood plains | Hydrologic models | Urban areas | Hydrology | Damage (structural) | Computer models | Municipal water | Wisconsin | United States

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