Minimization of Cost, Sediment Load, and Sensitivity to Climate Change in a Watershed Management Application

TitleMinimization of Cost, Sediment Load, and Sensitivity to Climate Change in a Watershed Management Application
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsChicakly, K, Bowden, WB, Eppstein, MJ
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software

One challenge of climate change adaptation is to design watershed-based stormwater
management plans that meet current total maximum daily load targets and also take into
consideration anticipated changes in future precipitation patterns. We present a multi-scale,
multiobjective framework for generating a diverse family of stormwater best management
practice (BMP) plans for entire watersheds. Each of these alternative BMP configurations are
non-dominated by any other identified solution with respect to cost of the implementation of the
management plan and sediment loading predicted at the outflow of the watershed; those
solutions are then pruned with respect to dominance in sensitivity to predicted changes in
precipitation patterns. We first use GIS data to automatically precompute a set of cost-optimal
BMP configurations for each subwatershed, over its entire range of possible treatment levels. We
then formulate each solution as a real-valued vector of treatment levels for the subwatersheds
and employ a staged multiobjective optimization approach using differential evolution to
generate sets of non-dominated solutions. Finally, selected solutions are mapped back to the
corresponding preoptimized BMP configurations for each subwatershed. The integrated method
is demonstrated on the Bartlett Brook mixed-used impaired watershed in South Burlington, VT,
and patterns in BMP configurations along the non-dominated front are investigated. Watershed
managers and other stakeholders could use this approach to assess the relative trade-offs of
alternative stormwater BMP configurations.

Accepted, awaiting publication
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