Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2011 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Watershed Flow Dynamics of the Baltimore Region
Bhaskar, Aditi
Co-Authors: Aditi Bhaskar, Claire Welty, Alimatou Seck, Reed Maxwell, Claire Jantz, Scott Drzyzga, Roxanne Sanderson, Andrew Miller, Garth Lindner, Joshua Cole

Abstract: We are involved in an investigation of the surface-subsurface flow processes in the urbanized Baltimore metropolitan region. We are using ParFlow, a coupled saturated-unsaturated-overland flow model. We are interested in the effects of urbanization on the flow dynamics, including changes in baseflow and changes in ground water levels outside of the water service area. We conducted a study of the water balance of urban watersheds in the Baltimore region, including both piped and natural components. We found that infiltration and inflow of groundwater and rainwater into wastewater pipes was a particularly significant piped component of urban water balances. We are interested in the effects of infiltration and inflow, imperviousness and reduced evapotranspiration on flow dynamics. We have so far applied ParFlow with a homogeneous domain to two watersheds: Dead Run (100 m x 100 m lateral grids) and the Gunpowder-Patapsco (500 m x 500 m lateral grids). At the Dead Run scale, we found the overland flow is particularly sensitive to the flat, urban landscape, where topography may not reflect surface drainage because streams have been moved or piped. We are currently incorporating hydrogeologic and climatic data into the model. This is part of a coupled human-natural systems project, in which this hydrologic model is being linked to an urban growth model of the region to explore feedbacks between water availability and development. Our instance of the SLEUTH urban growth model was calibrated, validated and run by collaborators at Shippensburg University.