Today’s Climate Resilient Stormwater Management Infrastructure Turns to the Cloud
Date & Time
Tuesday, September 14, 2021, 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

The developed world has fundamentally changed the hydrologic cycle by permanently converting natural areas to roadways, parking lots, and buildings. These impervious surfaces generate significant volumes of stormwater runoff, which in turn cause downstream flooding and erosion. Stormwater runoff carries pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorous, bacteria and sediment that reduce the water quality and biodiversity in receiving streams and water bodies. Surprisingly, all traditional stormwater management (SWM) modeling approaches utilize a “unit” hydrograph routing methodology. Essentially, the design of all traditional SWM practices assumes that all precipitation events last exactly 24 hours with a temporal rainfall distribution like that of a bell curve. This uni-storm distribution/duration design approach has caused unexpected/undesirable SWM facility performance during virtually all storm events. With climate change being our new reality, it is critical that we implement adaptable SWM systems if we are to have a sustainable future. Fortunately, the state of wireless connectivity and microcomputer technology make it now practical to precisely control the timing, volume, and rate of discharge from SWM facilities; thereby drastically increasing their performance. Smart SWM systems utilize artificial intelligence in the form of software to adapt SWM facility behavior to achieve desired performance goals, whether they be water quality, flood control and/or any combination of objectives. Smart SWM cloud-based control software ingests hyper-local precipitation forecast data (both rainfall quantity and temporal distribution) and adjusts SWM facility behavior in real time, including accounting for changes in forecast. Likewise, smart SWM facilities can maximize the opportunity for runoff reduction (via infiltration/evaporation) by retaining the runoff volume for the entire period of time between storm events. In so doing, smart SWM facilities also maximize pollutant reduction performance and opportunity for aquifer recharge and/or stormwater reuse. During most storm events smart SWM facilities release stored water in advance of the forecasted precipitation event in a volume equal to that necessary to fully capture the inflow from the storm event and at the lowest discharge rate possible. The timing of releases from smart SWM facilities are thereby offset from that of other portions of the watershed, which helps to reduce downstream erosion, flooding, and CSOs. During extreme precipitation events smart SWM facilities optimize their flood mitigation potential by actively managing their storage and discharge volumes in order to minimize discharge rate and total released volume during the wet weather event.