Urban water modelling and the daily time step: issues for a realistic representation

C. Makropoulos, E. Rozos, and D. Butler, Urban water modelling and the daily time step: issues for a realistic representation, 8th International Conference on Hydroinformatics 2009, Concepcion, Chile, Curran Associates, Inc., 57 Morehouse Lane Red Hook, NY 12571 USA, 2011.



Interest in modelling the total Urban Water Cycle is increasing, due to the realisation of the need for (high-level) flow integration to address issues of recycling, re-use and ultimately sustainability. Urban Water Cycle models are generally operating on a daily time step due to the inherent strategic/planning nature of such work. However, the choice of time step implies (more or less hidden) assumptions which may influence significantly the model’s performance. One such assumption – the way in which water tanks (e.g. rainwater, greywater, greenwater etc) are operated in terms of the sequence between tank overflow (spill) and water extracted from the tank for use (yield) is investigated in this paper. The two alternative sequences are termed here Yield After Spill (YAS) and Yield Before Spill (YBS). The Urban Water Optioneering Tool was used and advantages and disadvantages of these sequences were examined. The paper reviews the differences under a series of technological configurations and draws recommendations for modelling practice. It is suggested that YAS/YBS schemes have different impacts depending on the technological configuration of the case study under investigation, but that under normal operating conditions, daily time step simulations with YBS schemes tend to result in tank sizes that are (marginally) closer to sizes obtained by hourly time-steps. It is however suggested that YAS schemes should be preferred when the parameter of interest is runoff.

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Our works that reference this work:

1. E. Rozos, C. Makropoulos, and D. Butler, Design robustness of local water-recycling schemes, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management - ASCE, 136 (5), 531–538, doi:10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000067, 2010.