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Variation in the relation of rainfall to runoff from residential lawns in Madison, Wisconsin, July and August 1995

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4194

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Abstract

The quality of runoff from residential lawns is a concern for municipal stormwater management programs. Land-use based computer models are increasingly being used to assess the impact of lawn runoff on urban watersheds. To accurately model the runoff for residential lawns, the variation in the relation of rainfall to runoff from lawns must be understood. The study described in this report measures the runoff parameters from 20 residential lawns in Madison, Wisconsin, using a rainfall simulator. It was determined that the saturated hydraulic conductivity does not vary significantly within a single residential lawn, but does vary significantly from one lawn to another. This variation is recognized in the entire rainfall-runoff relation from one lawn to another. The age of a lawn, or the years since development and turf establishment, is used as a surrogate of several lawn and soil characteristics to describe the variability in lawn runoff volumes. Runoff volumes from newly developed lawns are significantly greater than runoff from older lawns. This is an important consideration when modeling runoff for new developments. For older lawns, the date since lawn establishment does not explain the variation in the rainfall-runoff relation. In order for simple land-use based computer models to adequately account for the volume of runoff from pervious landscapes, field data from individual lawns would be necessary. A more realistic, alternative method may be to consider a basin-scale analysis of runoff from pervious landscapes.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Variation in the relation of rainfall to runoff from residential lawns in Madison, Wisconsin, July and August 1995
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
96-4194
Year Published:
1996
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Wisconsin Water Science Center
Description:
iii, 11 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Wisconsin
County:
Dane County
City:
Madison
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N