American Society of Civil Engineers

Hydrologic Footprint Residence: Environmentally Friendly Criteria for Best Management Practices

by Marcio H. Giacomoni, (corresponding author), S.M.ASCE, (Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M Univ., Room 212-E, Wisenbaker Engineering Research Center, 3136 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3136. E-mail:, Emily M. Zechman, M.ASCE, (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil, Environmental, & Construction Engineering, North Carolina State Univ., 312 Mann Hall, Campus Box 7908, Raleigh, NC 27609; formerly, 3136 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843. E-mail:, and Kelly Brumbelow, M.ASCE, (Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M Univ., Room 205-L, Wisenbaker Engineering Research Center, 3136 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3136. E-mail:

Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, Vol. 17, No. 1, January 2012, pp. 99-108, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: The natural hydrologic flow regime is altered by urbanization, which can be mitigated through best management practices (BMPs) or low impact development (LID). Typically, the effectiveness of different management scenarios is tested by comparing post- and predevelopment instantaneous peak flows. This approach, however, does not capture the extent of hydrologic change and the effect on downstream communities. A new hydrologic sustainability metric is presented here to quantify the impact of urbanization on downstream water bodies on the basis of the inundation dynamics of the flow regime. The hydrologic footprint residence (HFR) is designed to capture both temporal and spatial hydrological changes to an event-based flow regime by calculating the inundated areas and duration of a flood. The HFR is demonstrated for a hypothetical watershed and a watershed on the Texas A&M University Campus, located in College Station, Texas. For the campus watershed, three design storms (2-, 10-, and 100-year) and a set of historical events (during the period 1978–2009) are simulated for various management scenarios, representing predevelopment conditions, development on campus, BMP-based control, and LID-based control. The results indicate that the HFR can better capture alterations to the shape of the hydrograph compared with the use of the peak flow only.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Sustainable development
Flood plains
Urban areas
Best Management Practice
Stormwater management

Author Keywords:
Hydrologic sustainability
Floodplain modeling
Watershed management
Low impact development
Best management practice
Storm-water management