New Project: Climate Change Adaptation of Urban Stormwater Infrastructure

Climate change scenarios have been fairly well-tested and vetted. Moore et al. (2015) found that one of the noteworthy impacts on upper Midwest cities is an increase of storm magnitude of 39% (moderate scenario) to 163% (pessimistic scenario). However, the impact of these scenarios on stormwater infrastructure are not well understood and documented. There are some important financial decisions that need to be made for stormwater infrastructure in the present and near-future, requiring demonstration and discussion of the impacts of climate change on stormwater infrastructure.

An effective response to the increasing inadequacy of civil infrastructure must both provide estimates of local-scale impacts and required system capacities, as well as address institutional inertia regarding infrastructure due to a lack of knowledge and risks. Effective infrastructure adaptation plans must also incorporate the impacts of projected population growth. Reliable, quantified information on adaptation needs, developed from current generation coupled-climate models, can support infrastructure adaptation.

A new research project will transfer coupled-climate model projections to stormwater infrastructure, in a form understandable to planners, resource managers and decision-makers. The study will model capacities required for the infrastructure to convey peak flows from projected mid-21st century climate changed precipitation and population growth, and the potential for green stormwater infrastructure methods to provide more economical and effective management of peak flows than drainage system upsizing.

Project Details

  • Estimated Start Date: 07/14/2020
  • Estimated Completion Date: 06/30/2023
  • Funding: Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • Principal Investigator: John Gulliver
  • Technical Liaison: Erik Brenna

Details of the research study work plan and timeline are subject to change.

To receive email updates about this project, visit MnDOT’s Office of Research & Innovation to subscribe.

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