Alterations in urban hydrology impact changes in the source, timing and rate of flow in a watershed, and can have a large influence on water flow and storage in the system. Storm water management schemes are applied to reverse or minimise alterations caused by built environments, in an effort to bring the system to a more natural, pre-development state. Green infrastructure has emerged as a cornerstone in the evolution toward sustainable cities, with engineering designs focused on the collection and infiltration of storm water to mimic natural conditions. However, the evaluation of different management schemes has been hindered by the lack of knowledge of urban subsurface processes. This research shall address key questions regarding the role of subsurface infiltration and storage processes, termed “wetness”, to assess impacts resulting from management design. This foundational research shall advocate for a well-defined scientific foundation of urban subsurface hydrologic response to storm events and infiltration processes to be used for engineering design.
The PhD project will employ data-driven tools using in-situ water collection, isotope hydrology and computational hydrogeology to provide insight into the hydrologic changes that may be attributed to management schemes. The project will focus on Newcastle upon Tyne as a living laboratory, collaborating closely with the Urban Observatory in efforts to use, apply and contribute data to further our understanding of urban hydrology processes. To characterize subsurface storage, a network of piezometers will be installed and outfitted with sensors to monitor hydrologic changes. Assessments of event thresholds, due to storm event responses, shall incorporate isotopic analysis to predict subsurface residence times. The research will broaden our understanding of Earth system changes that may occur due to storm water management and provide an avenue to incorporate subsurface responses into future management strategies.
This project is part of the ONE Planet DTP. Find out more here: View Website