Effective impervious area for runoff in urban watersheds

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51 Scopus citations


Effective impervious area (EIA), or the portion of total impervious area (TIA) that is hydraulically connected to the storm sewer system, is an important parameter in determining actual urban runoff. EIA has implications in watershed hydrology, water quality, environment, and ecosystem services. The overall goal of this study is to evaluate the application of successive weighted least square (WLS) method to urban catchments with different sizes and various hydrologic conditions to determine EIA fraction. Other objectives are to develop insights on the data selection issues, EIA fraction, EIA/TIA ratio, and runoff source area patterns in urban catchments. The successive WLS method is applied to 50 urban catchments with different sizes from less than 1 ha to more than 2000 ha in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, USA as well as Europe, Canada, and Australia. The average, median, and standard deviation of EIA fractions for the 42 catchments with residential land uses are found to be 0.222, 0.200, and 0.113, respectively. These values for the EIA/TIA ratio in the same 42 catchments are 0.50, 0.48, and 0.21, respectively. While the EIA/TIA results indicate the importance of EIA, 95% prediction interval of the mean EIA/TIA is found to be 0.07 to 0.93, which shows that using an average value for this ratio in each land use to determine EIA from TIA in ungauged urban watersheds can be misleading. The successive WLS method was robust and is recommended for determining EIA in gauged urban catchments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3717-3729
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number20
StatePublished - Sep 30 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • effective impervious area
  • impervious area
  • rainfall
  • runoff
  • stormwater
  • urban catchments


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