IWA Publishing

IWA Publishing

Assessing the impact of arid area urbanization on flash floods using GIS, remote sensing, and HEC-HMS rainfall–runoff modeling

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This study uses an integrated approach, bringing together geographic information system (GIS), remote sensing, and rainfall–runoff modeling, to assess the urbanization impact on flash floods in arid areas. Runoff modeling was carried out as a function of the catchment characteristics and the maximum daily rainfall parameters. Land-use types were extracted from the supervised classification of SPOT-5 (2010) and Landsat-8 (2015) satellite images and were validated during field checks. Catchment morphometric characteristics were carried out using the correlated Topaz and Arc-Hydro tools. Maximum floods of the catchment were evaluated by coupling GIS and remote sensing with Hydrologic Engineering Center–Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) hydrologic modeling. Peak discharges were estimated, and the abstraction losses were computed for different return periods. The model results were calibrated according to actual runoff event. The research shows that rapid urbanization adversely affects hydrological processes, since the sprawl on the alluvial channels is significant. This reduces infiltration into the underlying alluvium and increases runoff, leading to higher flood peaks and volumes even for short duration low intensity rainfall. To retain a considerable amount of water and sediments in these arid areas, construction of small dams at the fingertip channels at the outlet of the lower order sub-basins is recommended.

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