Storage Measures as Compensatory Techniques for Urban Lowlands Flood Control

Storage Measures as Compensatory Techniques for Urban Lowlands Flood Control


Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

30 April 2014
| Citation



Urban flood problems are being aggravated in growing cities. The process of urbanisation generally tends to supress natural retention areas, removing natural vegetation and producing large impervious areas. Besides, the traditional urban drainage approach, comprising mainly canalisation measures, showed to be potentially unsustainable, tending to transfer floods to downstream. Gradually, in the past recent years, this practice has been complemented or replaced by new concepts considering the use of distributed interventions to approxi-mately recover flow patterns prior to the urbanisation. In Brazilian great cities, drainage systems’ design started to incorporate the use of the so-called Compensatory Techniques, which aim to compensate the effects for the urbanisation process over the water cycle. In this context, detention and retention reservoirs have been con-ceived as potential adequate solutions. Departing from a Municipality proposition for a new urban development in Guerenguê River catchment, west zone of Rio de Janeiro, and considering the concept of compensatory techniques applied to the urban drainage, an alternative configuration for the drainage system is proposed in the catchment scale, and compared with the critical present situation. In this alternative proposal, besides the Municipality actions, a complementary set of storage measures distributed along the riverine areas was con-sidered. Additionally, local measures, composing multifunctional landscapes on the microdrainage scale, were also introduced to face local inundation problems. The scenarios assessment was supported by mathematical modelling. Modelling results showed that, at present situation, great part of the catchment suffers from flood-ing, with water depths that usually range from 0.15 m to 1.50 m. In critical areas, flooding may surpass the 1.50 m high level. The introduction of the compensatory techniques was capable of significantly changing this situation. However, for a more effective result, land use planning must also be addressed in the context of flood control.


Compensatory techniques on urban drainage, fl ood control, mathematical modelling, MODCEL, storage measures


[1] Batista, M., Nascimento, N. & Barraud, S., Compensatory Techniques on Urban Drainage, ABRH: Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2005. (in Portuguese).

[2] WIT Transactions on The Built Environment, Vol 122, © 2012 WIT Press, ISSN 1743-3509 (on-line). doi:

[3] FHWA – Federal Highway Administration, Stormwater Best Management Practices in an Ultra-urban Setting: Selection and Monitoring, FHWA-EP-00-002. U.S. Department of Transportation: Washington, DC, 2000.

[4] US EPA – United States Environmental Protection Agency, The Use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) in Urban Watersheds, ed. S. Muthukrishnan, B. Madge, A. Selvakumar, R. Field & D. Sullivan, EPA/600/R-04/184. Office of Research and Development: Washington, DC, 2004.

[5] Elliott, A.H. & Trowsdale, S.A., A review of models for low impact urban stormwater drain-age. Environmental Modelling and Software, 22(3), pp. 394–405, 2007. doi: http://dx.doi. org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2005.12.005

[6] US EPA – United States Environmental Protection Agency, Low Impact Development –A Literature Review, EPA-841-B-00-005. Office of Water: Washington, DC, 2000.

[7] Coffman, L.S., Cheng, M., Weinstein, N. & Clar, M., Low-impact development hydrologic analysis and design. In Proceedings of the 25th Annual Conference on Water Resources Plan-ning and Management, American Society of Civil Engineering: Chicago-Illinois, New York, pp. 1–8, 1998.

[8] Woods-Ballard, B., Kellagher, R., Martin, P., Bray, R. & Shaffer, P., The SUDS Manual. CIRIA C697, CIRIA: London, 2007.

[9] Argue, J.R. (ed.), WSUD: Basic Procedures for ‘Source Control’ of Stormwater – A Hand-book for Australian Practice, Urban Water Resources Centre, University of South Australia: Adelaide, 2004.

[10] Melbourne Water, WSUD Engineering Procedures: Stormwater, CSIRO Publishing: Colling-wood, Australia, 2005.

[11] Coombes, P.J., Argue, J.R. & Kuczera, G., Figtree place: a case study in Water Sensitive Urban Development (WSUD). Urban Water, 1, pp. 335–343, 1999. doi: S1462-0758(00)00027-3

[12] Hall, K.B. & Porterfield, G.A., Community by Design, McGraw Hill: USA, 2001.

[13] Miguez, M.G., Mascarenhas, F.C.B. & Magalhães, L.P.C., Multifunctional landscapes for urban flood control: the case of Rio de Janeiro (Chapter 2). Flood Prevention and Remedia-tion, ed. F.C.B. Mascarenhas, WIT Press: Southampton, Boston, pp. 33–52, 2011.

[14] Miguez, M.G., Mascarenhas, F.C.B. & Magalhães, L.P.C., Multifunctional Landscapes for Urban Flood Control in Developing Countries. The International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, Vol. 2, Issue 2, Southampton, UK, 2007.

[15] Google Earth,

[16] PAC,

[17] Mascarenhas, F.C.B., Toda, K., Miguez, M.G. & Inoue, K., Flood Risk Simulation, WIT PRESS: Southampton and Boston, p. 436, 2005.

[18] Mascarenhas, F.C.B. & Miguez, M.G., Urban flood control through a mathematical cell. Water International, 27, pp. 208–218, 2002. doi:

[19] Miguez, M.G., Flow Cell Mathematical Model to Urban Catchments. D.Sc. Thesis. Universi-dade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil, p. 301, 2001. (in Portuguese).