Assessment of data and parameter uncertainties in integrated water-quality model

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In integrated urban drainage water quality models, due to the fact that integrated approaches are basically a cascade of sub-models (simulating sewer system, wastewater treatment plant and receiving water body), uncertainty produced in one sub-model propagates to the following ones depending on the model structure, the estimation of parameters and the availability and uncertainty of measurements in the different parts of the system. Uncertainty basically propagates throughout a chain of models in which simulation output from upstream models is transferred to the downstream ones as input. The overall uncertainty can differ from the simple sum of uncertainties generated in each sub-model, depending on well-known uncertainty accumulation problems. The present paper aims to study the uncertainty propagation throughout an integrated urban water-quality model. At this scope, a parsimonious bespoke integrated model has been used allowing analysis of the combinative effect between different sub-models. Particularly, the data and parameter uncertainty have been assessed and compared by means of the variance decomposition concept. The integrated model and the methodology for the uncertainty decomposition have been applied to a complex integrated catchment: the Nocella basin (Italy). The results show that uncertainty contribution due to the model structure is higher with respect to the other sources of uncertainty.

Keywords: environmental modelling, integrated urban drainage systems, receiving water body, uncertainty analysis, wastewater treatment plant

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