Characterizing urbanization impacts on floodplain through integrated land use, hydrologic, and hydraulic modeling Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 Elsevier B.V. In the United States, fluvial flood risk is managed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which delineates areas that have a 1% chance of flooding each year (i.e. the 100-year floodplain). Development within and adjacent to riverine floodplains exacerbates flood losses by increasing peak discharge and runoff volume, shortening the time to peak, and altering the extent of the floodplain. This paper improves understanding of how future development can alter the 100-year floodplain in a watershed in Houston, TX through land use projection, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, and implements a novel method for considering the impact of both regional trends in development and site-scale development policies on runoff response. The methodology presented in this paper integrates future development scenarios from a machine learning land use projection model with distributed hydrologic modeling and coupled 1D/2D unsteady hydraulic modeling to produce future floodplain estimates. Current site-scale detention requirements are represented within the hydrologic model to evaluate the regional effectiveness of these policies under future development conditions in 2050. Results indicate that the 100-year floodplain can expand by up to 12.5% across the watershed as a result of projected development in 2050 using current stormwater mitigation policies, and the number of parcels within the floodplain can increase by up to 18.8%. This study demonstrates how incremental land use changes can significantly alter the reality of flood risk in urbanizing watersheds, and how existing land use policies may be insufficient to mitigate impacts from future development.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Hydrology

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Gori, A., Blessing, R., Juan, A., Brody, S., & Bedient, P.

citation count

  • 45

complete list of authors

  • Gori, Avantika||Blessing, Russell||Juan, Andrew||Brody, Samuel||Bedient, Philip

publication date

  • January 2019