Design and construction of an urban runoff research facility. Academic Article uri icon


  • As the urban population increases, so does the area of irrigated urban landscape. Summer water use in urban areas can be 2-3x winter base line water use due to increased demand for landscape irrigation. Improper irrigation practices and large rainfall events can result in runoff from urban landscapes which has potential to carry nutrients and sediments into local streams and lakes where they may contribute to eutrophication. A 1,000 m(2) facility was constructed which consists of 24 individual 33.6 m(2) field plots, each equipped for measuring total runoff volumes with time and collection of runoff subsamples at selected intervals for quantification of chemical constituents in the runoff water from simulated urban landscapes. Runoff volumes from the first and second trials had coefficient of variability (CV) values of 38.2 and 28.7%, respectively. CV values for runoff pH, EC, and Na concentration for both trials were all under 10%. Concentrations of DOC, TDN, DON, POP, K(+), Mg(2+), and Ca(2+) had CV values less than 50% in both trials. Overall, the results of testing performed after sod installation at the facility indicated good uniformity between plots for runoff volumes and chemical constituents. The large plot size is sufficient to include much of the natural variability and therefore provides better simulation of urban landscape ecosystems.

published proceedings

  • J Vis Exp

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Wherley, B. G., White, R. H., McInnes, K. J., Fontanier, C. H., Thomas, J. C., Aitkenhead-Peterson, J. A., & Kelly, S. T.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Wherley, Benjamin G||White, Richard H||McInnes, Kevin J||Fontanier, Charles H||Thomas, James C||Aitkenhead-Peterson, Jacqueline A||Kelly, Steven T

publication date

  • August 2014