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Comparing Different Approaches

Of Catchment Delineation

Mi Chen, Ph.D.1, Cindi Tucker 2, Srini Vallabhaneni. P.E., DEE 3, Joe Koran, P. E.4,
Melissa Gatterdam 4, Derek Wride, P. E.1

Abstract
Catchment delineation is one of essential steps for sewershed modeling studies.
The traditional manual catchment delineation method for large-scale sewersheds
is time consuming. Advanced functions in GRID module of ArcInfo help
modelers to automatically delineate watersheds. By adapting these functions,
three automatic approaches to delineate catchments were developed with
consideration of sewer network characteristics. It was unknown, however, to
what extent the modeling results differed based on the manual and different
automated methods. This paper presents the development of automatic
delineations and compares the modeling results from automatic approaches and
from manual operation to explore potential applications of GIS to sewershed
studies.

CDM, 8805 Governors Hill Dr. Suite 260, Cincinnati, OH 45249


CDM, 50 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139
3
CDM, 3750 Priority Way S. Dr., Suite 114, Indianapolis, IN 46240
4
Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, OH. 1600 Gest St., Cincinnati, OH 45204
2

Introduction
A watershed (or drainage basin) is a spatial unit where integrated water
management can be accomplished (Singh, 1995). Searching for approaches for
watershed protection has been a major task for water resource scientists and engineers.
Watershed (drainage basin) modeling is a tool for the watershed management.
Physically based methods are preferred, based on recent advances in watershed
hydrological modeling (Bhaskar et al., 1991). Physical-based distributed models account
for the spatial heterogeneity through an analysis based on principles of conservation of
mass, on quantities of motion, and on energy to evaluate the evolution of the physical
system (Colosimo and Mendicino, 1996). The accuracy of the model simulation largely
depends on how correctly modelers describe the variables in a basin system and the
resolution of the cell in which hydrological quantities can be speculated as being
homogeneous (Wilson et al., 1984).
Due to spatial and temporal variations of the characteristics of a watershed, it is
often necessary to delineate a watershed into smaller-sized modeled areas where
variables can be considered homogenous. The size of a modeled area is based on the
degree of the study details and the assumption that homogeneity of the watershed
characteristics can be considered by the modelers. The smallest area that a hydrologic
model can be applied to is called a catchment in this study. Therefore, the process of
catchment delineation is an important step that impacts the hydrologic model
development. Catchment delineation can be very tedious without automatic methods
when very detailed catchments (more than hundreds catchments) are delineated in a
watershed and hundreds of watersheds are defined in an entire study area.
Recently, many studies addressed the importance and procedures for river basin
watershed delineation using GIS (Geographic Information System) tools. Following the
same procedures, a large watershed can be delineated into several sub-watersheds, or
even many catchments at a finer level. The available procedures delineate the
watershed (sub-watershed or catchment) boundaries, based on the topography of the
surface, to determine the concentrated channel flow directions. An urban drainage
basin (watershed) boundary, however, is strongly influenced by the topology of the
sewer system rather than by the natural river basin. This impact is sometimes displayed
by the aspect that the directions of flow in the sewer system do not agree with the
directions of the surface runoff along the topography of a basin (watershed). This is
because underground man-made sewer networks do not always follow the surface
topography with consideration of the location of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP)
and the service area of a WWTP. This kind of urban drainage basin (watershed) is often
called a sewershed. Therefore, the GIS functions frequently implemented to delineate
sub-sewersheds (and catchments) may not properly or accurately perform without
considering the sewer system impact, which will ultimately influence modeling results.
Consequently, new methods were developed based on an integration of the watershed
delineation functions in the GRID module of ArcInfo with the sewer system topology.
In this study, three automatic catchment delineation methods were developed.
These methods have been named (1) the Watershed method, (2) the Basin method, and
(3) the Proxy method. These three automated methods and the traditional manual
method were applied to delineate catchments in a sewershed. Using the four different

products of delineated catchments, a hydrologic model - SWMM (Storm Water


Management Model) - was applied to generate the hydrological responses of the
sewershed. The modeling results from the four different methods were compared
against the observed data. The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility and
effectiveness of the automatic catchment delineation methods and to evaluate their
impacts on the hydrologic modeling.

Experiment Design
1.0 Study Area
Two study sewersheds were selected from the recently developed System Wide
Model (SWM) Project in Cincinnati, Ohio. The SWM Project was conducted by the
Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD), where Camp Dresser & McKee
Inc. (CDM) was the lead consultant managing the team effort, including a number a subconsultants, to develop and calibrate a computer model of the wastewater collection
system. Sophisticated computer models for the entire MSD sewer system were
developed for the evaluation of various planning scenarios. The entire study area
(shown in Figure 1-1) was about 257 mi2 with 42,084 modeled pipes and 42,206 modeled
manholes
Due to the large scale of the system, the study area was divided into drainage
basins and sub-basins at several different levels in order to organize and manage the
model input data. Following the three major river basins, the three major drainage
basins shown in Figure 1-2 were defined: the Mill Creek Drainage Basin, the Little
Miami Drainage Basin, and the Great Miami Drainage Basin. Following wastewater
treatment plant (WWTP) service boundaries rather than river basin boundaries,
modeled WWTP service areas shown in Figure 1-3 were defined. The seven major MSD
WWTP service areas were the Mill Creek, Little Miami, Muddy Creek, Sycamore, Polk
Run, Taylor Creek, and Indian Creek WWTP service areas. An additional finer level of
basin delineation was at the sub-basin level, as shown in Figure 1-4. The eighteen
drainage sub-basins were further subdivided into approximately 300 sewersheds, as
shown in Figure 1-5, to provide a finer level of detail for supporting project execution.
The flow monitoring program associated with the SWM Project was organized at the
sewershed level--each sewershed had one flow monitoring station installed at the outlet.
In this project, the finest level of basin delineation was at the catchment level.

The catchments were required and delineated during model development to


represent the drainage area associated with each flow loading point on the modeled
sewer network. The sewershed characteristics (i.e., inflow/infiltration parameters for
separate sewersheds, and runoff parameters for combined sewers) were determined at
the catchment level and used as model input.

Figure 1-1

Entire study area MSD System Wide Model

Note: red lines: combined sewers; blue lines: sanitary sewers

M i ll C reek
G reat M i ami
L i ttl e M i ami

Ohio River
Downtown
Cincinnati, OH
Figure 1-2

Major drainage basins MSD System Wide Model

Figure 1-3

Seven major WWPT service areas MSD System Wide Model

Ohio River

Figure 1-4

Downtown
Cincinnati, OH

Eighteen Sub-basins SWM System Wide Model

Two types of sewersheds were selected in this study based on (1) the

Selected Sanitary Sewershed

Ohio River
Downtown
Cincinnati, OH
Figure 1-5

Sewersheds MSD System Wide Model

Selected Combined Sewershed

characteristics of the sewer system in the sewershed, (2) the consideration of clean
observed flow data obtained from the flow monitoring station located at the outlet of the
sewershed, and (3) the different approaches of model development. One sewershed
(Sanitary Sewershed) included all sanitary sewers and another (Combined Sewershed)
included mostly combined sewers. Sanitary sewers carry wastewater discharged from
homes, businesses, industries, etc., and exclude direct storm water runoff from a
sewershed. Combined sewers carry the wastewater discharged from consumers as well
as storm water runoff during rainfall events. The size of the Sanitary Sewershed was
122 acres, with 77 manholes and 77 sanitary sewer pipes. This sewershed was
predominantly residential area with 577 households. A flow monitor was installed at
the outlet of the sewershed. Figure 1-6 displays the map of the sanitary sewershed. The
size of the Combined Sewershed was 473 acres, with 448 manholes and 455 combined
sewer pipes. There were 1,797 buildings, with the majority being residential and a few
commercial and school areas included. A flow monitor was installed at the outlet of the
sewershed. Figure 1-7 displays a map of the Combined Sewershed.

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Map of Combined Sewershed

2.0 Materials and Methods


The required GIS data for catchment delineation were either directly obtained or
derived from the Cincinnati Area Geographic Information System (CAGIS) by the modeling
team. CAGIS is a mature GIS established to offer government, utility companies, groups,
or citizens a new, intelligent, and cost-effective tool to make informed decisions based on
shared data. CAGIS established the foundation for automating the functions of
government and utilities whose activities create the inventories of sewers, land records,
water, drainage, electrical systems, streets, right of way, etc., for supporting the community
(http://www.cagis.hamilton-co.org/CAGIS/DataDictionary/Cagorganization.html).
Among the many GIS shape files provided, the major files used for the delineation effort
included: (1) the modeled sewer network data, including pipes and manholes (individual
unique identified database records with attributes of x-y grid coordinates, invert elevations,
pipe diameters, plan lengths, and pipe material, manhole rim elevations, manhole depths,
etc.); (2) two-foot contours; (3) loading points; (4) property parcel lines; and (5) sewershed
boundaries. The modeled sewer network data were derived using ArcView 3.X from the
CAGIS MSD sewer shape file. Based on the project scope, the modeled sewer pipes
included sanitary sewers with a diameter of 12 inches or greater and combined sewers with
a diameter of 18 inches or greater. The 2-foot contours were directly from CAGIS. The
loading points were determined by the modelers by using ArcView 3.X and the MSD sewer

manhole shape file. The general rule was to consider each sanitary manhole as a loading
point, where feasible. For the combined sewershed, the guidelines for determining loading
points included the manholes where direct stormwater runoff entered the sewer system via
stormwater inlets. The sewershed boundaries were derived as presented in the previous
section.

2.1

Three Automated Catchment Delineation Methods

The Watershed Method


In the ArcInfo and ArcInfo GRID environments, catchments were delineated
with an automated GIS method. The method was based on the work done by Olivera
(1996) at the Center for Research in Water Resources at the University of Texas at Austin
(Maidment, 2003). The Center identified a method for burning a stream network into
a Digital Elevation Model (DEM), thus, forcing flow direction into the stream network.
Our study adapted the stream burning method for sewershed catchment delineation.
In this method, the processed CAGIS GIS data included two-foot contours, modeled
sewers, loading points, and sewershed boundaries. Using several ArcInfo commands
and GRID functions, the sewer network was burned into the DEM that was created
from the contour elevations, and GRIDs WATERSHED function was applied to create
the catchments.
To begin, all CAGIS data was converted to coverage format. A depressionless
Digital Elevation Model (DEM) shown in Figure 2-1 was created from the two-foot
contours and the sewer network and loading points were both converted to grids, taking
care to be sure that the grid cells overlay by choosing equivalent parameters (cell size
and X, Y extents) for each grid. A depressionless DEM is a surface that has been
corrected for sinks or other errors so that the grid is hydrologically correct. The loading
points grid was created with the POINTGRID command but to create the sewer network
grid, several commands and grid functions were used. The sewer grid created was a
three-dimensional representation of the modeled sewer network where the only grid cell
values populated were those that overlay the arcs in the sewer coverage. All other grid
cells had a no data value, creating a three-dimensional pipe alignment. Pipe flow
direction was maintained within the sewer pipe alignment based on the flow direction
of the sewer pipe and the invert elevations. This was accomplished by creating two
sewer grids, the first with the LINEGRID command, and the second with the
TOPOGRID command. Once checked for errors, the first grid was set as a mask
(SETMASK command) and merged (MERGE function) with the second grid to create the
final sewer grid that was burned into the DEM.
To burn in the sewer network, the DEM elevations were raised by a constant
value. This was done to avoid negative elevations. The sewer grid was merged
(MERGE function) with the raised DEM, as illustrated in Figure 2-2, and served as the
input for the FLOWDIRECTION and WATERSHED functions. The merge function
ignores the no data cells in the pipe grid and transfers only the populated cell values
onto the raised DEM, thus, imprinting or burning the sewer network into the DEM.
The flow direction grid determined the flow direction from each cell to its steepest down

slope neighbor, showing how water flows out of each cell. If there were obvious errors
in the data, this grid would help to determine where these errors existed so that they
could be corrected prior to the catchment delineation.

Figure 2-1 DEM of Combined Sewershed

Finally, catchment delineation was done with the WATERSHED function. The
WATERSHED function determined the contributing area above a set of cells in a grid.
The flow direction grid and loading point grid were used as input to the watershed
function. The loading points became the outlet or pour points that determined how the
sewershed was divided into catchment boundaries. The catchment grid was converted
back into a coverage and the vestige cell boundaries were smoothed.

Figure 2-2 Burned Surface of Combined Sewershed

The Basin Method

The Basin Method was performed in much the same way as the Watershed
Method. The same grids produced using the Watershed Method were applied to divide
the sewershed into catchment areas. Therefore, all of the steps performed prior to using
the WATERSHED function were exactly the same. The difference was that the BASIN
function was used to determine the catchment boundaries from the flow direction grid.
The BASIN function delineated drainage basins by identifying ridge lines between
basins. In addition, the contributing areas for any pour points and sinks present in the
flow direction grid were delineated.
The Proxy Method
For this study, sewer catchments were delineated using a Proximity Analysis
method within the ArcView 3.X environment. Proximity analysis attempts to mimic the
manual techniques used to delineate catchments primarily in sanitary sewershed areas.
This method dissolves parcel boundaries based on each parcels proximity to a
generalized sewer network. The CAGIS parcel, modeled sewers, and loading points
were used to perform the analysis.
To generalize the modeled sewer network, a trace routine was developed using
the Avenue programming language. The script traced the sewer network downstream
from loading points, generalized the sewer network between loading points to create a
sewer pipe reach, and coded the sewer pipe reach with the upstream and downstream
loading point identifier (the reaches shown in different colors in Figure 2-3). To define
the catchment boundaries, the nearest pipe reach was determined for each individual
parcel. The parcels were coded with the pipe reach identifier and dissolved on this
attribute. The final result is shown in Figure 2-3.
The Manual Method
In the ArcView 3.X environment, the catchments were delineated manually by
our modeling team members. For the Combined Sewershed, the loading points were
selected from the CAGIS MSD Manhole shape file by identifying the manholes where
non-modeled pipes joined and where stormwater runoff discharged to the sewer
system. Following the surface flow directions indicated by the 2-foot contour lines, the
catchment boundaries were traced by a line perpendicular to the contour lines at the
upstream area of each loading point. For the Sanitary Sewershed, each manhole was
considered as a loading point and the parcel lines were used as major dividers of
catchment boundaries. Following the flow directions in the sewers, each catchment
contained one loading point.

Figure 2-3 Pipe reaches and catchments results with the Proxy Method

2.2

Modeling Simulations

After catchments were delineated for each sewershed, the smallest modeling
units were set up. There was a need to manually adjust some loading point locations
corresponding to the finished catchment boundaries. The associated catchment
information regarding the size, location in a sewershed, the number of households, the
water consumption records from each household, land uses, soils, and surface slopes,
etc., was required and derived based on the delineated catchments to develop the model
input data set. According to the four catchment delineation methods, there were four
input data sets for the Sanitary Sewershed and the Combined Sewershed. In the four
model data sets for the two sewershed types, the difference was made to the inputs
associated with the delineated catchments and loading points while the remaining input
data remained unchanged. For each of the model input datasets (four for Sanitary; four

for Combined; eight in total), the runoff was simulated for three historical rainfall events
using the RUNOFF (hydrologic) and EXTRAN (hydraulic) modules of the SWMM
software (24 total simulations). For the Sanitary Sewershed, the three selected rainfall
events occurred on 2/09/2001, 2/25/2001 , and 4/15/2001. For the Combined
Sewershed, the three selected rainfall events occurred on 3/25/2002, 4/21/2002, and
5/12/2002. For each rainfall event simulation, the model flow results from each of the
four methods were compared against each other at the outlet point of the sewershed and
the observed flow data were used as the reference. The compared results included the
total volume of the runoff, the peak flow rate, and the first peak flow time.

Table 2-1

Simulations for different catchment delineations in a given rainfall event

Different Catchment Delineations


Watershed
Method

Basin Method

Proxy Method

Manual
Method

Sanitary Sewershed

Simulation 1

Simulation 2

Simulation 3

Simulation 4

Combined Sewershed

Simulation 1

Simulation 2

Simulation 3

Simulation 4

3.0

Results and Discussions

3.1

Sanitary Sewershed

The products of delineated catchments using the different methods for the
Sanitary Sewershed are displayed in Figures 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, and 3-4. The results indicate
that the different delineation methods generated the catchments quite differently. The
areas of the catchments delineated by the Watershed Method, the Basin Method, the
Proxy Method, and the Manual Method covered about 80 percent, 100 percent, 66
percent, and 89 percent of the sewershed, respectively. Table 3-1 lists the number of
catchments and the smallest and largest sizes of the catchments based on the four
methods. It reveals that the catchments generated by the Proxy Method were close to
the catchments generated from the Manual Method; however, the Proxy Method missed
some part of the sewershed shown in Figure 3-2. For the Sanitary Sewershed, both the
Manual Method and the Proxy Method used a similar approach in that the property
parcel boundaries were used as major dividers of the catchments. The figures show that
the automatic delineation methods created more or less sliver polygons at the edge of

the sewershed boundary. The Basin Method created the most sliver polygons as shown
in Figure 3-3. These polygons were consolidated with the adjacent catchments;
however, some major missing areas of the sewershed caused by the Watershed and
Proxy Methods impacted the modeling results.

%
U

Legend

%
U

[ Flow Monitor
%
%
U

Loading Points
Modeled Sewers
Buildings
Catchments
Sewershed

%
U

%
U

%
U
%
U
%
U

%
U

800

%
U
%
U

%
U

% U
U
%

% U
U
%
800 Feet

% U
U
%

%
U

[U%
%

Figure 3-1 Catchments delineated by the Watershed method for Sanitary


Sewershed

Legend

[
%
%
U

Flow Monitor
Loading Points
Modeled Sewers
Buildings
Catchments
Sewershed

% U
U
%
%
U
%
U
%
U

%
U

%
U
%
%U
U
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U
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U
%
U

%
U

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U

%
U

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%
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%
U

800

Figure 3-2

% U
U
%
800 Feet

%
U
% U
U
% U
%

%
U
%
U

%
U
%
U
%U
U
%

[
%

Catchments delineated by the Proxy method for Sanitary Sewershed

Legend

%
U

[ Flow Monitor
%
%
U

% U
U
%

Small sliver polygons

%
U

Loading Points
Modeled Sewers
Buildings
Catchments
Sewershed

%
U
%
U

%
U
%
U
%
U

%
U
%
U

%
U

%
U

%
U
%U
U
%

%
U
%
U
800

Figure 3-3

% U
U
%
800 Feet

%
U
%
U

[
%

Catchments delineated by the Basin method for Sanitary Sewershed

%U
U
%

Legend

[ Flow Monitor
%
%
U

% U
U
%
%
U

%
U

Loading Points
Modeled Sewers
Buildings
Catchments
Sewershed

%
U

%
U

%
U

% U
U
%
%
U

%
U

%
U

%
U

%
U

%
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%
U

%
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%
U

%
U

%
U
%
U
%
U
%
U
%
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%
U

800

Figure 3-4

%
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% U
U
%U
%

800 Feet

%
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%U
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%
% U
U
% U
%U
% U
% U
% U
%U
%
%
U
[%

Catchments delineated by the Manual Method for Sanitary Sewershed

Table 3-1 Comparing Sanitary Sewershed catchment delineation results

Catchment Delineation

Number of
Catchments

The Smallest
Catchment
(ac)

The Largest
Catchment
(ac)

Watershed Method

33

0.1

24

Basin Method

149

0.1

33

Proxy Method

71

0.1

Manual Method

67

0.2

10

The simulated and observed hydrographs at the outlet of the Sanitary Sewershed
are shown in Figures 3-5, 3-6, and 3-7 for the three rainfall events. The flow patterns
generated based on the four catchment delineation methods agreed with the observed
flow pattern. Table 3-2 summarizes the comparisons between the four methods. The
total amount of flow had slight differences from the observed flow. As expected, the
Proxy Method had larger under-predictions for all events due to some un-delineated
sewered areas in the sewershed. The same reason caused the lower peak flow rates from
the Proxy Method. Compared to the observed time to peak, less than 10 minutes
difference was observed in the times to peak from all methods for the last two rainfall
events, while the predicted times to peak exhibited 20 to 25 minutes lag for the first
event. The simulated times to peak based on the four methods, however, were very
consistent, with less than a 10-minute discrepancy. In general, the simulations based on
the four catchment delineation methods had very good predictions for the total amount
of flow and the time to peak. Regarding the peak flow rate, the Manual and Basin
Methods generated better results than the Proxy and Watershed Methods for the first
and second rainfall events, while the Proxy and Watershed Methods generated better
results for the last rainfall event.

Gray: observed flow data


Black: the result from the Manual method
Red: the result from the Proxy method
Purple: the result from the Watershed method
Green: the result from the Basin method

Figure 3-5 The observed and simulated hydrographs at the outlet of Sanitary
Sewershed during the 2/09/01 rainfall event

Gray: observed flow data


Black: the result from the Manual method
Red: the result from the Proxy method
Purple: the result from the Watershed method
Green: the result from the Basin method

Figure 3-6 The observed and simulated hydrographs at the outlet of Sanitary
Sewershed during the 2/25/01 rainfall event

Gray: observed flow data


Black: the result from the Manual method
Red: the result from the Proxy method
Purple: the result from the Watershed method
Green: the result from the Basin method

Figure 3-7 The observed and simulated hydrographs at the outlet of Sanitary
Sewershed during the 4/15/01 rainfall event

Table 3-2
Comparison between the observed and simulated flow data for Sanitary
Sewershed
2/09/2001 Rainfall Event
Manual
Method

Basin
Method

Proxy
Method

Watershed
Method

Observed
Data

Total Volume (ft3)

6.39x104

6.25x104

5.62x104

5.83x104

6.16x104

Maximum Flow (cfs)

1.345

1.284

1.008

1.105

1.33

Minimum Flow (cfs)

0.154

0.154

0.154

0.0

0.101

Difference between the Total Observed


and Simulated Volume

3.7%

1.5%

-8.8%

-5.4%

0.0%

Difference between the Maximum


Observed and Simulated Flow

1.1%

-3.5%

-24.2%

-16.9%

0.0%

Peak Flow Time

19:25

19:35

19:30

19:30

19:10

2/25/2001 Rainfall Event


Manual
Method

Basin
Method

Proxy
Method

Watershed
Method

Observed
Data

Total Volume (ft3)

5.48x104

5.42x104

5.01x104

5.15x104

5.33x104

Maximum Flow (cfs)

0.815

0.756

0.591

0.648

0.979

Minimum Flow (cfs)

0.191

0.167

0.166

0.166

0.161

Difference between the Total Observed


and Simulated Volume

2.8%

1.7%

-6.0%

-3.4%

0.0%

Difference between the Maximum


Observed and Simulated Flow

-16.8%

-22.8%

-39.8%

-33.8%

0.0%

Peak Flow Time

5:00

5:05

5:05

5:05

4:55

4/15/2001 Rainfall Event


Manual
Method

Basin
Method

Proxy
Method

Watershed
Method

Observed
Data

Total Volume (ft3)

5.00 x104

4.94 x104

4.66 x104

4.76x104

5.07 x104

Maximum Flow (cfs)

0.946

0.914

0.746

0.801

0.825

Minimum Flow (cfs)

0.142

0.142

0.142

0.142

0.161

Difference between the Total Observed


and Simulated Volume

-1.4%

-2.6%

-8.1%

-6.1%

0.0%

Difference between the Maximum


Observed and Simulated Flow

14.7%

10.8%

-9.6%

-2.9%

0.0%

Peak Flow Time

11:00

11:05

11:10

11:10

11:00

3.2 Combined Sewershed


The products of delineated catchments based on the four catchment delineation
methods for the Combined Sewershed are illustrated in Figures 3-8, 3-9, 3-10, and 3-11.
The results indicate that the different delineation methods generated the catchments
quite differently. As noted earlier, Table 3-3 lists the number of catchments and the
smallest and largest sizes of the catchments based on the four methods. This reveals that
the catchments generated by the Watershed Method more closely resembled the
catchments generated from the Manual Method. The explanation is that the Watershed
Method used the most selected loading points with the burned sewer network in the
DEM to generate the catchments, which was similar to the approach used for manually
delineating the catchments. The Basin Method, however, generated the catchments
based on automatically selected loading points formed by the topography of the DEM
with the burned sewer network.

Table 3-3 Comparing Combined Sewershed catchment delineation results

60

The Smallest
Catchment
(ac)
0.9

The Largest
Catchment
(ac)
55

Basin Method

18

152

Proxy Method

102

0.1

79

Manual Method

76

0.3

54

Catchment Delineation

Number of
Catchments

Watershed Method

Legend
Bilidings

[ Flow Monitor
%
U
%

Loading Points
Modeled Sewers
Catchments
Sewershed

U
%
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%

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%%
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% %
U
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U%
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U%
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U
U %
%

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%%
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U %
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%

[
%

U %
%
U
1000

1000

2000 Feet

Figure 3-8 Catchments delineated by the Watershed method for Combined


Sewershed

Legend
Bilidings

[% Flow Monitor
U
%

Loading Points
Modeled Sewers
Catchments
Sewershed

U
%
U
%

U
%
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%

U
%
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%

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%
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%
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U%
%
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%
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%

[
%

U
%
U
%

1000

1000

2000 Feet

Figure 3-9 Catchments delineated by the Basin method for Combined Sewershed

Legend
Bilidings

[ Flow Monitor
%
U
%

Loading Points
Modeled Sewers
Catchments
Sewershed

U U
%
%
U
%
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U %
%
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%
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U%
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U %
U
U %
%
U
% %
U
U
%
U U
%
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%
U %
%
U%
U
%
U %
U
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% %
U
U
%
U%
U %
U%
U%
UU
% %
U
%
U %
U
%
U%
U
%
U%
U%
U
U %
%
U
U%
U%
%
U%
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U U
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%%
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U%
U%
U
%
U %
%
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%
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%
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U
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U
U %
%
U
%
U %
%
U

U U
%
%%
UU
%

[
%

1000

1000

2000 Feet

Figure 3-10 Catchments delineated by the Proxy method for Combined Sewershed

Legend
Bilidings

[% Flow Monitor
U
%

Loading Points
Modeled Sewers
Catchments
Sewershed

U
%
% U
U
%U
U U
%%
% U
% U
U
%
%%
U%
U
%
U
U
%
U
%
U
%
U
U%
%
U
%
U
%
U%
%
U %
U
U%
U%
U %
%
U %
U %
U
%
U
U%
U%
U%
%
U%
%
U
U%
U
%
U%
U%
U %
U
U
%
U
%
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%
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%
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%
U
U
%
U
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U
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%
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%

U %
%
U %
U

U
%
U
%

U %
%
U
U
%
U
%

U
%

U
%%
U

U
%

U
%

U
%

[
%

%%
U
U %
U

1000

1000

2000 Feet

Figure 3-11 Manually delineated catchments for Combined Sewershed

The observed and simulated hydrographs at the outlet of the sewershed for the
three rainfall events are illustrated in Figures 3-12, 3-13, and 3-14. The general patterns
of the results from the four methods agree fairly consistently with the pattern of the
observed flow data. Compared to the observed flow volume, there was no systematic
under- or over-predictions based on the four methods. The times to peak based on the
four catchment delineation methods were very close to the observed times to peak for
the three rainfall event simulations. There were considerable discrepancies, however,
between the observed and the simulated total amount of flow and the peak flow rate.
Table 3-4 compares the differences in the total amount of flow, the maximum and
minimum flows, and the time to peak between the simulated results and observed data.
Investigation of the model development process revealed that simulated runoff results
were strongly influenced by several model inputs. These inputs were the entire
modeled areas, the pervious and impervious land areas, the widths of the catchments,
and the soil infiltration parameters. They were calculated based on the land uses and
soils data in a delineated catchment. Defining the land uses and soils data in a

delineated catchment was accomplished by deriving the information from CAGIS soil
and land use shape files on the delineated catchment level. In another words, if the
delineated catchments were different, these parameters were generated differently,
which altered the modeling results. Based on the previous discussions, the results
indicate that the delineated catchments varied significantly between the four catchment
delineation methods. Therefore, this study shows that the four delineation methods had
a strong impact on the modeling results for the Combined Sewershed. It also indicates
that the initial products of the delineated catchments should be modified by the
modeling teams judgment to be applicable for model inputs. The level of the
modification depends on the level of the study detail and accuracy. In addition, model
calibration is needed after model development.

Gray: observed flow data


Black: Results from Manual Method
Red: Results from Proxy Method
Purple: Results from Watershed Method
Green: the result from the Basin method

Figure 3-12 Observed and simulated hydrographs at the outlet of Combined


Sewershed using the 3/15/02 rainfall event

Gray: The observed flow data


Black: Results from Manual Method
Red: Results from Proxy Method
Purple: Results from Watershed Method
Green: the result from the Basin method

Figure 3-13 Observed and simulated hydrographs at the outlet of Combined


Sewershed using the 4/21/02 rainfall event

Gray: The observed flow data


Black: Results from Manual Method
Red: Results from Proxy Method
Purple: Results from Watershed
Method
Green: the result from the Basin
method

Figure 3-14 Observed and simulated hydrographs at the outlet of Combined


Sewershed using the 5/12/02 rainfall event

Table 3-4
Comparison between the simulated and observed flow data for
Combined Sewershed
3/25/2002 Rainfall Event
Manual
Method

Basin
Method

Proxy
Method

Watershed
Method

Observed
Data

Total Volume (ft3)

6.89x105

1.12x106

1.15x106

1.32x106

1.11x106

Maximum Flow (cfs)

29.9

35.9

45.0

51.8

27.8

Minimum Flow (cfs)

1.8

0.6

0.6

0.6

1.7

Difference between the Total


Observed and Simulated Volume

-37.9%

0.9%

3.6%

18.9%

0.0%

Difference between the Maximum


Observed and Simulated Flow

7.7%

29.1%

62.2%

86.5%

0.0%

First Peak Flow Time

23:05

23:05

23:05

23:05

23:05

4/21/2002 Rainfall Event


Manual
Method

Basin
Method

Proxy
Method

Watershed
Method

Observed
Data

Total Volume (ft3)

1.57x106

8.06x105

7.56x105

7.87x105

2.01x106

Maximum Flow (cfs)

138.4

108.4

82.5

106.0

141.6

Minimum Flow (cfs)

0.0

0.5

0.6

0.5

0.0

Difference between the Total


Observed and Simulated Volume

-21.9%

-59.9%

-62.4%

-60.8%

0.0%

Difference between the Maximum


Observed and Simulated Flow

-2.2%

-23.4%

-41.7%

-25.1%

0.0%

First Peak Flow Time

13:50

13:55

13:50

13:50

13:50

5/12/2002 Rainfall Event


Manual
Method

Basin
Method

Proxy
Method

Watershed
Method

Observed
Data

Total Volume (ft3)

2.67x106

2.75x106

2.91x106

3.26x106

2.51x106

Maximum Flow (cfs)

84.3

82.3

84.1

61.1

99.6

Minimum Flow (cfs)

0.0

0.5

0.6

0.5

1.2

Difference between the Total


Observed and Simulated Volume

6.4%

9.6%

15.9%

29.9%

0.0%

Difference between the Maximum


Observed and Simulated Flow

-15.4%

-17.4%

-15.5%

-38.7%

0.0%

First Peak Flow Time

22:35

22:35

22:35

22:35

22:30

Conclusions
A catchment is the smallest unit of delineated area in a sewershed for this study.
Accuracy of catchment delineations played an important role in the hydrologic and
hydraulic model development and calibration. Catchment characteristics and modeling
approaches are different for combined and separate sanitary systems. Two types of
sewersheds (i.e., combined and separate sanitary) were selected to evaluate three
different GIS based automatic catchment delineation methods. Manual catchment
delineation was also performed to verify the success of automatic methods. In general,
of the three automated methods investigated in this study, the Proxy Method was the
more effective approach to delineate catchments for separate sanitary sewersheds while
the Basin Method yielded better results for the combined sewersheds.
The automated methods using GRID module of ArcInfo are effective in
delineating initial catchment boundaries for a large modeling study area consisting of
thousands of catchments, as in the case of the MSD System Wide Model Project.
Automatically generated catchment boundaries often required manual refinement
during the model development and calibration; however, they reduced the overall
efforts required for catchment delineation.
A successful GIS based automatic catchment delineation depends on the
following factors: the extent and accessibility of the data sources, the type and unique
features of the modeled sewer systems, and the accuracy and competence of the GIS
data base. Manual refinement of the initial delineated catchments is anticipated in order
to render a final product for successful model development. The level of manual
refinement of the initial catchment delineations depends on the project-specific level of
detail and modeling objectives. The automatic catchment delineation methods
discussed in this paper can provide a means to significantly expedite the process of
developing initial catchment delineations for large-scale study areas.

References
Bhaskar, N. R., W. P. James, and R. S. Devulapalli, 1991. Hydrologic parameter
estimation using Geographic Information System. Journal of Water Resources Planning and
Management, Vol. 118(5) : 492-511.
Colosimo, C. and G. Mendicino, 1996. GIS for Distributed Rainfall-Runoff Modeling. In
Geographic Information Systems in Hydrology, Edited by V. P. Singh and M. Fiorentino,
Kluwer Academic Publishers, the Netherlands.
Maidment D. V., 2003. http://www.ce.utexas.edu/prof/maidment/home.html.
Singh, V. P., 1995. Watershed modeling. In Computer Models of Watershed Hydrology,
edited by V. P. Singh. Water Resources Publications, P. O. Box 260026, Highlands Ranch,
CO.

Olivera, F., 1996.


http://www.crwr.utexas.edu/gis/gishyd98/atlas/EXERCISE/URUBAMBA/Peru.htm.
Wilson, B. N., B. J. Barfield, A. D. Ward, I. D. Moore, 1984. A hydrology and
sedimentology watershed model. Part I: Operational format and hydrologic component.
Transactions of the ASAE, Vol.27 (5) : 1370-1377.