Hydraulic and hydrologic aspects of flood-plain planning

Water Supply Paper 1526
By: , and 



The valid incentives compelling occupation of the flood plain, up to and eve n into the stream channel, undoubtedly have contributed greatly to the development of the country. But the result has been a heritage of flood disaster, suffering, and enormous costs. Flood destruction awakened a consciousness toward reduction and elimination of flood hazards, originally manifested in the protection of existing developments. More recently, increased knowledge of the problem has shown the impracticability of permitting development that requires costly flood protect/on. The idea of flood zoning, or flood-plain planning, has received greater impetus as a result of this realization. This study shows how hydraulic and hydrologic data concerning the flood regimen of a stream can be used in appraising its flood potential and the risk inherent in occupation of its flood plain. The approach involves the study of flood magnitudes as recorded or computed; flood frequencies based1 on experience shown by many years of gaging-station record; use of existing or computed stagedischarge relations and flood profiles; and, where required, the preparation of flood-zone maps to show the areas inundated by floods of several magnitudes and frequencies. The planner can delineate areas subject to inundation by floods o* specific recurrence intervals for three conditions: (a) for the immediate vicinity of a gaging station; (b) for a gaged stream at a considerable distance from a gaging station; and (c) for an ungaged stream. The average depth for a flood of specific frequency can be estimated on the basis of simple measurements of area of drainage basin, width of channel, and slope of streambed. This simplified approach should be useful in the initial stages of flood-plain planning. Brief discussions are included on various types of flood hazards, the effects of urbanization on flood runoff, and zoning considerations.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydraulic and hydrologic aspects of flood-plain planning
Series title Water Supply Paper
Series number 1526
DOI 10.3133/wsp1526
Year Published 1961
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Printing Office
Contributing office(s) Pennsylvania Water Science Center
Description v, 69 p. :ill., maps ;25 cm.
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