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Chapter 2

Literature Review
2.1 Conventional Urban Stormwater Management System and Its
Stormwater management basically means managing the surface runoff. The
urban stormwater has been predominantly managed for the purpose of flood control
(Brown, 2005; Winz et al., 2011). Traditionally, surface runoff from developed areas,
being considered undesired, has been removed as completely and as fast as possible
(Boller, 2004). The aim has been to drain the urban runoff quickly with the help of
channels and pipes. Typically the conventional system comprises road side drains,
channelization, rectification and enlargement of storm drains (Miguez et al., 2014) and
provision of cross drainage works.
In cities, sewer systems may be provided to convey mostly dry weather flow,
coming from domestic and industrial sanitary sewage as well as infiltration flow and
stormwater. Traditionally, in urban drainage two types of sewer systems are adopted:
separate and combined sewers. The former carry dry and wet weather flow separately
into two different networks, while the latter convey dry and wet weather flow together.
In a combined sewer system, stormwater runoff mixes with sanitary flow. If the volume
and rate of stormwater and sanitary flow exceed capacity at wastewater treatment plants
(WWTPs), the combined flow overtops the discharge weirs at regulators, causing
combined sewer overflows (CSOs). If runoff rates exceed the conveyance capacity of
the sewer system, sewer back-ups or street flooding may also occur. This is likely to
create unhygienic conditions.
The sharp rise in urban development has led to an increase in impervious areas
and a decrease in vegetated and pervious surfaces (Leopold, 1968). The conversion of
natural surface into impervious cover like roads, rooftops, and parking lots decreases
infiltration and increases runoff volumes. Conventional urban stormwater
infrastructure, comprising pipes and channels, is provided to remove these excess
flows. The natural stormwater flow paths and runoff velocities get altered due to such
systems (Roesner et al., 2001; USEPA, 1993; Clar et al., 2004; Walsh et al., 2005). As
a result, there is a significant increase in the peak flow rates and frequencies in
urbanized areas, when compared to pre-development conditions (Roesner et al., 2001).

The thrust towards such development has led to draught and flooding problems faced
by urbanized areas today (Wong et al., 2000).
The importance of stormwater quality was realized with elevated levels of
stormwater runoff volume (Miguez et al., 2014; Arnold and Gibbons, 1996). Though
the earlier theories considered surface runoff as clean water, the quality of stormwater
may be significantly reduced, causing stream degradation and impacting the estuaries
and bays (Novotny, 1991; Walsh et al., 2005; Wong, 2005; Wong and Eadie, 2000;
Chow et al., 2011; Hatt et al., 2004; Lee et al., 2007). The pollution impact from
secondary treated domestic wastewater may be lesser than that associated with
stormwater (Wanielista et al., 1977). Environmental Protection Agency EPA (2000)
report states the problems of conventional systems which include decrease in
groundwater recharge, increase in runoff volume and change in the timing, frequency
and rate of discharge (Leopold, 1968). These changes can cause flooding, water quality
degradation, stream erosion and the need to construct end of pipe Best Management
Practices (BMPs) (Hollis, 1975; Hall, 1974; EPA, 2000).
The conventional system considers runoff as undesirable water which needs to
be removed from the site immediately for good drainage. This paradigm which
dominated site planning and engineering in the 1960s resulted in the creation of an
efficient system for conveyance of runoff through the network of pipelines typically
discharging it into a creek, river or lake. This resulted in the amplification of the
hydraulic changes due to loss in natural storage, increase in impervious areas, decrease
in runoff travel times and increase in the degree of hydraulic connections (PGDER,
1999). The natural features which decrease travel times and detain or infiltrate runoff
are absent in the developments resulting from conventional site designs.
Traditional practice ignores the importance of stormwater as a precious resource
and considers it as a waste product (Andr′es-Dom′enech et al., 2010; Campbell et al.,
2004). The adverse impacts of the traditional practice of urban stormwater management
like degradation of receiving waterways, combined sewer overflows, diffuse pollution
(Andr′es-Dom′enech et al., 2010; Campbell et al., 2004) have raised growing concerns
about the natural environment. This is also being criticized as an outdated practice
which impedes the implementation of sustainability in stormwater management and
ignores the importance of stormwater as an alternative source of water (Brown, 2005;
Miguez et al., 2014). Urban planners are facing the challenge of balancing of water
shortages and flood risks (Yang and Cui, 2012). The traditional practice of providing
additional centralized stormwater infrastructure is employed to cater to the growing
urban development. The implementation of the sustainable stormwater management
model may get hindered by continuing with the conventional practice (Brown et al.,
2009). The traditional metric of stormwater management does not focus on runoff
management at source or prevent or control stormwater pollution. Hatt et al. (2006)
recommend better and sustainable management of the urban water cycle to satisfy
growing water demand without further environmental deterioration. The conventional
approach which includes provision of drainage network and modification of existing
water courses is being complemented or partially substituted by different concepts,
including recycling and reuse of stormwater. The failure of the old paradigm has led to
the development of a new comprehensive, sustainable approach to manage stormwater
known as sustainable urban drainage system (Miguez et al., 2014). The practice of
stormwater management is constantly evolving since then. Stormwater harvesting has
emerged as an important strategy for managing urban water resources to address the
growing concerns of water management throughout the world (Yang & Cui, 2012;
Brodie, 2012).
In the 1960s, the stormwater was managed only for flood prevention, but in
subsequent decades, objectives for stormwater management have diversified to include
quality, ecosystem health, reuse, integration with urban design etc. along with quantity.
There are many issues which today’s stormwater management system has to address,
such as (Roy, et al., 2008; Ellis et al., 2008):
• Quantity: ability of the stormwater system to prevent flooding;
• Quality: provide an improved technology for environmental protection of
receiving waters;
• Ecosystem Health: should have a significant positive effect on stream stability,
habitat structure, base flows and water quality;
• Reuse: its potential usability as a water resource in society;
• Recreation, Aesthetics & other Issues: possibility to enhance the ecological and
aesthetic value of the urban environment;
• Integration with Urban Design: developing a comprehensive stormwater
drainage arrangement closely linked with the Integrated Urban Water System
• Cost: reduce construction and maintenance costs of the stormwater
Thus, stormwater systems should be designed in such a way that the resources would
be used more efficiently. This would in turn require a radical change in the way these
systems have been managed so far. Technologies to reuse water, at source control of
stormwater should be applied wherever practically and economically feasible.
Concurrently, the health of the ecological systems should be maintained by limiting the
pollution in receiving waters and land.

2.2 Sustainable Stormwater Management System

Preservation, protection and revitalization of urban landscapes and waterways
are the main concerns of today’s urban planners, while tackling the challenges of
urbanization, population growth and climate change. These challenges are putting
colossal pressures on them to reconsider the conventional, centralized water
management methods (Mitchell, 2006; Gupta, 2011; Novotny et al., 2010).
The issue of sustainability has been the focus of urban water systems during the
last few decades, and the system is being viewed not only from an ecological point of
view but also with respect to social and economic aspects in the broad sense (Hellstro¨m
et al., 2000). The stormwater management systems are also being assessed from a
sustainability perspective. A sustainable stormwater system should not only avoid
flooding and unwanted content in the stormwater, but also should consider its potential
usability as a water resource in society. Boller (2004) discusses about the control of
pollutant emissions at the source as a key to advancement in sustainability, and
emphasizes that the design of stormwater systems should not only be on the basis of
hydraulic elements, but also as a barrier for different contaminants. The author further
mentions another aspect of the stormwater drainage system as a valuable element for
landscaping. Sundberg et al. (2004) have broadened the definition of stormwater
systems to include sustainability aspects. They state that the system should consider not
only the technical infrastructure but also the social dimension as well as the economy.
The application of distributed storage and source control approaches to stormwater
management is being encouraged by a number of academicians and industrialists for
many years. Such approaches represent both sustainable and cost effective alternative
to conventional approaches. These innovative structures can alleviate flooding, erosion
and water quality problems and have been found to be more efficient, more compact
and more effective “controls” than conventional systems. Given climate change and
other pressing environmental issues, Source Control, Distributed Storage and other Best
Management Practices (BMPs) are being preferred over conventional practices, for
managing the stormwater sustainably. Such innovative ‘hard structures’ offer
significant cost savings in addition to improved efficacy.
These alternative techniques of stormwater management have emerged over the
past few decades in several urban areas of North America, Europe, and Australia, as
well as in some developing countries (Carmon and Shamir, 2010). Such strategies
which emerged separately but simultaneously at various places have been termed as
Low Impact Development (LID) (Coffman et al., 1998; van Roon, 2007) in the United
States, Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in Europe and UK (Woods-Ballard et al.,
2007), Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) (Elliott & Trowsdale, 2007; Argue et
al., 2009) in Australia, Low Impact Urban Development and Design (LIUDD) in New
Zealand (Carmon and Shamir, 2010; Novotny et al., 2010; Morison and Brown, 2011)
and Source Control (Martin et al., 2007). Such systems are alternatively denoted by
terms like “best management practices” (BMPs), “sustainable urban drainage,”
“ecological stormwater management,” and “integrated catchment (or watershed)
planning” (Stahre, 2005).
The driving force motivating the development of such novel stormwater
management approaches is the diversification of the objectives of stormwater
management. All these systems aim to minimize impervious cover and maximize
infiltration of rainfall.
LID and WSUD techniques (hereafter referred as alternative stormwater
management systems, ASMS) are designed to capture and temporarily retain (e.g., rain
barrels); infiltrate stormwater (e.g. biofiltration swales, pervious pavement,) and
promote evapotranspiration (e.g. green roofs, rain gardens) (USEPA, 2000). This in
turn reduces flood frequency and restores the critical components of natural flow
regimes. These techniques have the potential to remediate both water quantity and
quality issues in streams.
The alternative systems are comprehensive technology-based approaches for a
hydrologically and environmentally efficient site design to compensate for land
development impacts on hydrology and water quality. The pre-development site
hydrology is preserved by storing, infiltrating, evaporating and detaining runoff by
using various design techniques (Davis, 2005; Dietz, 2007). This approach minimizes
off-site runoff and helps in groundwater recharge (USEPA, 2000). Although the basic
concept of source control is common amongst all these strategies, exact components
and definitions may vary. The primary objective is to mimic pre-development
hydrology wherever possible or design the system in order to minimize the impact on
surrounding ecosystems (Carmon and Shamir, 2010; Novotny et al., 2010). Typical
alternative strategies include maintenance of pre-development runoff volumes through
reduction of impervious surfaces, preservation of existing porous soils and improving
infiltration and storage practices. Since the actual site conditions dictate the success of
these measures, stormwater solutions need to be customized for each location (Marzion
et al., 2013; Roy et al., 2008). Henceforth, all such alternative techniques have been
referred as Alternative Stormwater Management Strategies (ASMS) in this research

2.3 Alternative Stormwater Management Strategies / Systems (ASMS)

The desired post development hydrologic conditions can be achieved by a suitable
combination of various ASMS. These strategies predominantly comprise the following
 Bio-retention facilities
 Detention ponds
 Retention basins
 Swales
 Rain barrels and Cisterns
 Infiltration measures
 Green / Vegetated roofs

2.3.1 Bio-retention

Bio-retention systems utilize a conditioned planting soil bed and planting materials
to filter, infiltrate and store runoff within a shallow depression. Bio-retention can
perform both runoff volume reduction and pollutant filtering functions (USEPA, 2000).
Bio-retention cells filter and cleanse the runoff and discharge the water either in a
storage unit for reuse or into a receiving water body or allow it to get infiltrated into the
soil thus replenishing the groundwater (Beecham, 2003). These systems can be
designed taking into consideration soil types, site conditions and land uses. Typical
components and their functions are listed below (USEPA, 2000).

 Grass buffer strips for reducing the velocity of runoff and removing the
 Sand bed: Provided for aeration and drainage of the planting soil. It also helps
in flushing out the pollutants from the soil.
 Shallow surface water ponding area: Provided for storing the excess runoff,
facilitating the settling of particulates and evaporation of excess water.
 Soil / organic layer: For filtering pollutants, preventing soil erosion. Provides a
medium for decomposition of organic matter and growth of plants.
 Vegetation (Plants): Provided for removing excess water by evapotranspiration
and pollutants through nutrient cycling. Also improve the aesthetics of the area.
 Overflow outlet: For removing excess runoff to prevent ponding during rain
events exceeding the design storm.
 Under drain: Provided for removing runoff when the soils are unsuitable (low
infiltration rate).
The design components are summarized in Table 2.1 while Figure 2.1 shows the typical
section of a bio-retention area.

Table 2.1: Bio-retention Design Components (Source: PGDER, 1999)

Component Specifications
Pre-treatment Area Required where a significant volume of debris or suspended
material is anticipated such as parking lots and commercial
areas. Grass buffer strip or vegetated swales are commonly
used pretreatment devices.
Shallow surface Depth = 6 in.
water ponding area
Ground cover layer Mulch layer 2-3 in. thick
Planting soil / Depth = 4 ft. Recommended soil mixtures include sand, loamy
organic layer sand, and sandy loam. Clay content < 10%
In situ soil Infiltration rate >= 0.5 inches/hour without under-drains
Infiltration rate <= 0.5 inch/hour, under-drain required
Vegetation / plants Native species recommended
Inlet and outlet Non erosive flow velocities (0.5 ft/sec)

Fig. 2.1: Typical Section of a Bio Retention Area

(Source: PGDER, 1993)

These cells can reduce the annual stormwater runoff by 85 – 90 % if provided
in appropriate soils and help in replenishing groundwater. The article by Beecham
(2010) reports 90% removal efficiency for suspended solids (TSS), 80% for total
phosphorous (TP) and 40% for total nitrogen (TN). The results presented by Parker et
al. (2009) indicate that the bio-retention systems retained significant volumes (55%) of
stormwater along with reduction in peak flow. The removal efficiencies of TSS, TP and
TN were 79%, 43% and 60% respectively.
Bio-retention cells remove metals (Cd, Zn, Pb, etc.) found in stormwater runoff.
The removal efficiencies are 70-97% for lead, 43–97% for copper and 64–98% for zinc.
They also reduce total Kjeldahl nitrogen by 37-80%, nitrate-nitrogen by up-to 26% and
phosphorus by as much as 87% (USEPA, 2000).
Phosphorous removal from stormwater runoff was investigated by Hsieh et al. (2007b).
The bio-retention columns analyzed in this study showed a decrease in phosphorous
loading and this phosphorous trapped in the media would be subsequently used by the
vegetation through nutrient cycling. In another study by Kim et al. (2012), the removal
potential of Escherichia Coli by bio-retention was investigated. The study results
indicate a direct relationship between E-coli removal and hydraulic retention time.
Longer hydraulic retention times yielded higher E-coli removal.
The influence of planting soil mix design on hydrologic and water quality
performance of bio-retention cells was analyzed by Carpenter et al. (2009). This study
confirms the importance of proper design and construction of bio-retention cells to be
an effective stormwater BMP. The experimentation and analysis shows that the soil
planting mix does affect the performance of bio-retention in reducing the volume and
pollutant concentration. The performance of two grassed bio-retention cells, one
undersized (small) and the other large was analyzed for treatment of highway bridge
deck runoff. The results suggest that 50% removal is possible for a bio-retention cell
undersized by half (Luell et al., 2011). The authors concluded that small bio-retention
cells can be used beneficially for retrofitting in areas where space is limited. The
environmental effectiveness of bio-retention was also studied by Hsieh and Davis
(2005). They studied eighteen bio-retention columns and six existing bio-retention
facilities to evaluate pollutant removal performance and media characteristics. All
columns and on-site facilities demonstrated excellent removal for oil & grease and lead,
and good to moderate removal efficiency for TSS. The removal efficiency of TP ranged
widely and that of nitrate and ammonium was observed to be poor. Based on these
results, the authors propose two media profiles as design recommendations in this
study. In another study by Hsieh et al. (2007a), nitrogen removal from layered bio-
retention columns was investigated. It was demonstrated that bio-retention cells with
similar media but different configuration can exhibit different nitrogen fate behaviours.
The poor performance of the studied columns was attributed to the high nitrate leaching
potential of the mulch used in the columns. The authors recommend low available
nitrate content for the mulch / organic matter used in bio-retention. They also propose
a media configuration wherein a less permeable media layer is provided below a more
permeable one to establish nitrification / de-nitrification zones. A similar result was
observed for phosphorous removal using bio-retention columns (Hsieh et al., 2007b).
A high hydraulic conductivity media overlaying one with low hydraulic conductivity
was found to be more efficient in phosphorous removal. According to the results
presented in the research work by Randall (2011), TN and TP may be reduced by up to
53 and 79%, respectively, in specially designed bio-retention gardens.
Bio-retention cells also improve the aesthetics and blend well with the landscape.
Rain Garden
Rain gardens, also called as bio-retention cells are landscaped depressions that
capture and treat stormwater runoff. Rain garden is a popular variant of bio-retention
systems typically provided in a home lawn or parking lot. It is able to blend well into
the landscape and serve as a garden area. The main function of a rain garden is to retain
and treat stormwater from rooftops (Fig. 2.2) and parking lots (Fig. 2.3). Some of the
benefits of providing a rain garden include:
 Reduction in stormwater runoff
 Slowing down the runoff thus reducing erosion
 Improvement in stormwater quality
 Recharge of groundwater
 Improved and better landscape

Fig. 2.2: Rain Garden for Rooftop Rainwater
(Source: U S Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service)

Fig. 2.3: Rain Garden for a Parking Lot

(Source: U S Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service)

The soil in the rain garden helps to arrest the pollutants through four processes (Jaber
et al., 2012)
 Settling: The runoff slows down after entering the rain garden, and thus the
debris and other impurities settle and are removed. Sediments tend to settle on
the top and may clog it. Thus it requires regular maintenance to prevent ponding.
 Chemical reactions in the soil: The pollutants adsorb onto the soil particles and
get filtered out from the runoff.
 Biological degradation in root zones: Microorganisms decompose the
impurities and other debris into nutrients and other stable products.
 Plant uptake: Plants take up the nutrients released from the microbial
decomposition of impurities.
Two types of rain gardens can be used for stormwater retention.
 A planted depression placed downstream of the drainage area: When the native
soil has good infiltration rates, this type of rain garden is provided to retain and
treat runoff from a rooftop.
 By replacing existing soil and providing an under-drain: When infiltration rate
of existing soil is less, this type of rain garden is provided. Existing soil is
replaced with layers of soils with high infiltration rates, gravel and mulch. An
under-drain is provided to remove excess runoff which cannot percolate in the
soil. This under-drain discharges it into the stormwater drains.

Design considerations
Maximum drainage area of a rain garden should not exceed 1-2 acres. Flows from larger
drainage areas may cause erosion. In areas with clayey soils, rain garden should be at
least 10 feet away from the buildings to prevent any damage to the foundation.

Rain garden design

The depth of a rain garden is 2.5 – 3 feet and consists of various layers. The bottom-
most layer, known as the retention zone, is filled with gravel of size 0.5 – 1.5 in. and
the depth of this layer is 1 foot. An under-drain pipe for drainage purposes (if required)
is placed at the top of this layer. The next layer is the soil layer of 1.5 feet depth which
is to be topped up with 2 in. thick mulch. A rain garden is constructed to hold 6-9 in. of
water on the top of the soil. Figure 2.4 shows the typical cross section of a rain garden.

Fig. 2.4: Cross Section of a Typical Rain Garden
(Source: PGDER, 1999)
Sizing of a rain garden
Typically, size of a rain garden varies from 7 – 10 % of the catchment area.
Many states in US have provided on-line design recommendations to help home owners
implement rain gardens. Most of these recommendations are summarized in tabular
format in the article by Jennings et al. (2015). It can be observed that the physical design
varies to a great extent. The area requirement is reported either in terms of the service
(drainage) area or typical range of the required rain garden area. These publications
recommend that the rain garden area may be dependent on the depth. The recommended
garden area may vary from minimum 3% to as high as 80% of the service area or
typically from 50 to 400 sq. ft. This clearly indicates that the design recommendations
need to be verified and revised. The research paper by Jennings et al. (2015) presents
an analysis algorithm for assessing the performance of rain garden in reducing
stormwater runoff. The authors comment that these recommendations are too
conservative and need to be revised. The simulations carried out in their research work
show that 85% reduction in volume is possible by providing rain garden having 10%
drainage / service area when the infiltration rate is 6.35 mm/h. The volume reduction

becomes 75% if the infiltration rate is half the earlier value. In another study by Abi
Aad et al. (2009), the reduction in volume was 38% corresponding to the rain garden
area of 3.9% of the drainage area.
It can be concluded that bio-retention systems offer many benefits in terms of
reduction in runoff volume and peak flow, and also can achieve good pollutant removal
efficiencies. These systems blend well with the surroundings and offer an attractive
landscape. Rain gardens represent a popular variant of bio-retention and can be
retrofitted in existing high density urban areas in a de-centralized manner. They also
increase the groundwater recharge opportunities and can replenish depleting ground-
waters, particularly in urban areas.

2.3.2 Detention Ponds

Detention pond is a large constructed depression to store the runoff from large
drainage basins in urban landscapes. They attenuate the stormwater flow thus reducing
the peak flow. They can be designed to control the flow rates by store-release
mechanism. Moderate pollutant removal efficiency (particularly for TSS) is facilitated
by these ponds. The volume reduction is also less. These are used for retaining
stormwater runoff from urban as well as agricultural areas (Weiss et al., 2006). The
pond detains the runoff for the design detention time and releases it into the receiving
water bodies such as lakes or streams. They also reduce the pollutant loads in the runoff
(Wu et al., 1996; Comings et al., 2000; Heitz et al., 2000; Mallin et al., 2002; Harrell
and Ranjithan, 2003; Revitt et al., 2004). A model for designing detention ponds based
on hydraulic residence time for removing the contaminants to the desired level is
developed by Weiss et al. (2006).

2.3.3 Retention Basins

A retention basin / pond is an artificial lake having a permanent pool of water
(Fig. 2.5). It is surrounded by emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation. It is
provided to manage the stormwater runoff to prevent flooding and downstream erosion.
It also improves the water quality of adjacent water bodies by capturing the pollutants
through sedimentation and biological uptake mechanisms.
These basins cater for all storms unlike bio-retention or other ASMS. They also
attenuate peak flows and treat the runoff thus reducing erosion and pollution of
downstream areas. They also offer high amenity potential and many opportunities for
the landscape designer. The basins promote development of wildlife habitats. Due to
their high ecological, amenity and aesthetic benefits, their provision may add value to
local property.
The major limitation of these systems is their high land requirement. This may
limit their use in high density areas and it may not be possible to utilize them for
retrofitting, particularly in dense urbanized contexts. They also pose health and safety
risks (Goldenfum et al., 2007) and are unsuitable for steep sites. Further, they may act
as favourable breeding sites for mosquitoes and may turn anaerobic if the inflow is

Fig. 2.5: Retention Basin


2.3.4 Swales
Swales are primarily simple drainage and grassed channels provided along the
residential streets and highways to reduce runoff velocity and as an infiltration device
(Fig. 2.6). Two types of grassed swales are being used, the dry swale which provides
both quantity and quality control by facilitating stormwater infiltration, and the wet
swales which reduce peak discharge and treat the runoff before discharging it to a
downstream location. Such swales are effective when the flow depth is minimum and

detention time is maximum. The primary pollutant removal mechanism is
sedimentation and secondary mechanisms are infiltration and adsorption. These
channels work well for smaller drainage areas with mildly sloping topography. The cost
of structural stormwater conveyance systems is two to three times more than engineered
grass swales (Design, 1998). Specific concerns regarding the swales include
maintenance problems, nuisance problems which may arise due to the ponding of water
or probable dumping of debris in it and impact on pavement stability. Such concerns
may be alleviated by proper design. The significant maintenance requirements include
periodic removal of sediments and mowing.

Fig. 2.6: Typical Plan and Section of a Grass Swale

(Source: PGDER, 1999)

2.3.5 Rain Barrels and Cisterns
Rain barrels (Fig. 2.7) and cisterns are storage devices that provide above
ground or underground retention storage volume for managing rooftop rainwater. They
are respectively called barrels and cisterns if they provide above ground or underground
storage. Rainwater from the rooftops is directed into the barrels or cisterns using gutters
and down spouts. Filters are provided to treat the first flush and filter the runoff to
prevent clogging by debris. An overflow bypass is provided to bypass runoff from large
storm events. The water is conserved and can be reused for lawns and gardening. This
can reduce water utility costs considerably.
A study was conducted by Steffen et al. (2013) to analyze the performance of
residential rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems (providing cisterns). The objectives
included quantification of water supply and stormwater runoff reduction benefits. The
water saving efficiency benefits were more than 90% for regions with high precipitation
and 20-50% for regions with less precipitation. It was observed that the water supply
benefits depend on several factors including cistern size, water use pattern, and
precipitation. Stormwater runoff reductions ranged from 1-17% depending on the water
use pattern and climatic conditions. Regions with higher precipitation were found to
provide higher water saving efficiency, with a lower stormwater management potential.
The technical feasibility and economic viability of domestic RWH systems was
assessed in the context of Portugal by Silva et al. (2015). The efficiencies of RWH and
water saving were analyzed and payback period was estimated. The authors propose a
simple rule for estimating optimum tank capacity for single-family households in
Portugal. Another paper by Alam et al. (2012) explores the possibility of harvesting
rainwater in rural communities and thickly populated areas of Sylhet as an alternative
source of drinking water. The authors conclude that a carefully planned rainwater
storage tank may be able to satisfy the entire annual domestic water demand of a family
in rural areas of Bangladesh. In another study by Islam et al. (2014), low cost RWH
was assessed as an alternative source for salinity affected coastal region of Bangladesh.
A provision of a 2000 liter capacity rainwater storage tank was found to be adequate
for a rural house with 6 members. A computer model to simulate RWH system
performance for 208 liter rain barrels and larger cisterns was developed by Jones and
Hunt (2010). It was observed that appropriately sized cisterns designed for the
anticipated water usage are required for efficient functioning of the RWH system. It

was also found that rain barrels provided inadequate storage and overflowed frequently.
They have a very small role in limiting runoff.
It can be observed that rain barrels and cisterns offer very good potential for
storing water which can be reused for potable / non-potable applications. They can be
used to supplement drinking water particularly in rural areas where there is water
scarcity. The capacity of barrels or cisterns is an important factor affecting effectiveness
as an alternative source and the cost. They have a limited role in attenuating stormwater
and reducing the runoff volume.

Fig. 2.7: Barrel for Storing Rainwater

(Source: PGDER, 1999)

2.3.6 Infiltration Measures

Infiltration devices are used to manage the runoff from roofs, paved surfaces,
rainwater tank overflows and grassed and vegetated areas. Pipes and overland flow
convey the runoff from these sources to the infiltration devices. Pretreatment is
provided to the stormwater before it enters these devices. The pretreatment removes
sediment, improves the quality of stormwater and also helps to minimize the risk of
clogging. An infiltration device can remove @ 90% of sediment, 60% of phosphorous
and nitrogen from the stormwater. A number of options are available for using
stormwater infiltration on residential properties (Argue et al., 2009).
a) Leaky wells: They consist of a vertical perforated pipe with a lid at the ground
surface and an open bottom. The holes in the walls and the bottom are covered
with geo-textile fabric to cleanse the stormwater before infiltrating into the soil.

The stormwater enters through an inlet pipe and excess water is removed with
an overflow pipe (Fig. 2.8). It stores the stormwater temporarily until it
percolates into the soil. Pretreatment is necessary to remove sediments, leaves
and debris.
b) Retention trench: It consists of a trench filled with gravel, sand or loam. This
trench is lined with a geo textile fabric and comprises a layer of coarse gravel
placed under a 300 mm layer of sand or loam. An inflow pipe conveys the
stormwater to the trench and an overflow pipe is provided to remove excess
water (Fig. 2.9). A sediment trap which prevents clogging of the trench is
provided before the stormwater enters the trench.

Fig. 2.8: Leaky Well (Source: Argue et al., 2009)

Fig. 2.9: Retention Trench (Source: Argue et al., 2009)

c) Infiltration basin: An infiltration basin is a depression filled with coarse gravel
and 300 mm thick top soil covered with grass. These basins reduce peak
discharge and runoff volumes, and improve the quality of stormwater
discharged to the receiving environments. They are suitable where plenty of
space is available.
d) Seepage pits: A Dry Well or Seepage Pit is a variant of an Infiltration system
for temporarily storing and infiltrating rooftop runoff.
Infiltration devices are not suitable at sites where the hydraulic conductivity of soils is
less than 0.36 mm/hr. They should not be installed on slopes greater than 5%. These
are not recommended for areas where the water table is rising or the salinity of
groundwater is increasing.

The basic data requirements for design of a leaky well include calculation of runoff
volume from a roof and hydraulic conductivity of soil, kh, in m/s. The assumptions in
the design (Argue et al., 2009) are as follows:
 Well is empty at commencement of inflow;
 Well fills over time 𝜏 minutes (time base of the design storm runoff
 Percolation through floor is at full rate of kh for period of 𝜏 minutes;
 Percolation through walls is distributed hydrostatically, hence this component
of outflow is half saturated (outflow) rate for period of 𝜏 minutes;
 Perforated wall offers no restriction to outflow;
 Groundwater level is significantly below the floor of the well.
The following equations can be used to design the leaky wells (Argue et al., 2009).
𝐷=√ 𝜋
(𝐻 + 120 ∗ 𝑘ℎ ∗ 𝜏 ∗ 𝑈) ∗ ( )
where D is diameter of the leaky well in m; V is design volume of runoff; H is height
of the well in m and U is moderation factor.
Another form of this equation is

4(𝑉 − 30 ∗ 𝜋 ∗ 𝐾ℎ ∗ 𝜏 ∗ 𝐷2 ∗ 𝑈)
𝜋 ∗ 𝐷2

To improve the existing unsatisfactory situation of drainage in Dhaka,
Bangladesh, a proposal of leaky wells using water sensitive urban design principles was
investigated by Ahammed et al. (2013). The authors propose two leaky wells with 2m
height and 2m diameter to be provided for every 500 m2 allotment to improve the

2.3.7 Green / Vegetated Roofs

One of the methods employed to reduce total impervious surface area is
vegetated rooftops. Their extensive use is found in Germany and Europe resulting in up
to 50% reduction in annual runoff in temperate climates. A green roof is a multilayered
cover consisting of a vegetative layer, media, a geotextile layer and a synthetic drain
layer. Typically, a green roof consists of a vegetation layer, a soil layer (or growing
medium), the drainage layer and the membrane layer and may often require a root
barrier and irrigation system (Castleton et al., 2010; She and Pang, 2010). Versatile
techniques are available for green roof constructions which include a complete system,
a modular system and pre-cultivated blankets. The modular and pre-cultivated systems
are simple and fast in terms of their installation and their costs and weight is also less
as compared with the complete system (Berardi et al., 2014; Dinsdale et al., 2006).
In every city, there is an abundance of roof area. Turning the roofs green through
covering them with soil and vegetation is widely believed to contribute to achieving
numerous benefits. A comprehensive review performed by Berardi et al. (2014)
discusses in detail the various environmental benefits of green roofs. The environmental
benefits and economic feasibility of green roofs is clearly evident from their findings.
The various environmental benefits as reported by Berardi et al. (2014) can be listed as
 Reducing and attenuating stormwater runoff which lowers risks of urban floods;
 Achieving thermal benefits: Highly efficient in reducing the indoor temperature
variation resulting into savings in building energy consumption in warm and
cold climates;
 Mitigation of urban heat island effect;
 Sound insulation and noise reduction;
 Reducing air pollution;

 Enhancement of environmental quality and preservation of ecology
(Oberndorfer et al., 2007);
 Providing wildlife habitat and biodiversity enhancement.
The review paper by Rowe (2011) discusses comprehensively how green roofs
influence air pollution, CO2 emissions, carbon sequestration, longevity of roofing
membranes, quality of stormwater runoff and noise pollution. This review has evaluated
published research on green roofs in terms of pollution mitigation and suggested future
directions of research. Apart from the benefits mentioned above, this paper highlights
the role of green roofs in reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere. The authors also predict
that green roofs could be incorporated as carbon trading credits in future. Another
benefit of green roofs mentioned in this article is the higher longevity of green roofs as
compared to conventional roofs resulting in fewer roofing material reaching the landfill,
in turn reducing pollutant leaching opportunities (Oberndorfer et al., 2007).
Green roofs have a potential for providing an attractive green space in
downtown areas where the green space on the ground is limited or simply non-existing.
In many countries interest in green roofs is increasing (Berndtsson, 2010).
Generally, green roofs are classified as intensive or extensive. An intensive roof
garden utilizes considerable soil depth with a high diversity of plants as against
extensive roofs which need less water and maintenance. Consequently the weight and
cost of an intensive green roof is much higher than that of extensive roofs (Rowe, 2011).
Being technically less complex, extensive roofs can be provided for sloping roofs and
are also appropriate for large sized rooftops. Their energy and stormwater management
benefits are relatively lower in comparison with intensive roofs (MacIvor et al., 2013).
Though costly, intensive roofs create an aesthetically appealing natural environment
with improved biodiversity and provide better insulation (Berardi et al., 2014).
A number of research articles on various aspects of green roof application have
investigated and analyzed the technique from different perspectives. Some studies have
focused on the runoff quality to investigate if the green roofs are sources or sinks of
various metals (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Al, Fe, Cu, Cd, Pb, Zn, Mn, Cr, Ni, etc.), inorganic
anions and cations. Vijayaraghavan et al. (2012) conclude that concentrations of various
chemical components in roof runoff depend on the nature of substrates used in the green
roof and also on the volume of rain. Gregoire and Clausen (2011) report that green roof
(extensive roof) acts as a sink for NH3-N (Berndtsson et al., 2006; Berndtsson et al.,

2009), Zn and Pb but not for total and PO4-Phosphorous (Berndtsson et al., 2009) and
total Cu. The authors identify growing media and slow release fertilizers as the probable
sources of P and Cu in green roof runoff. Berndtsson (2006), (2010) also report soil
material (compost) and added fertilizers as the source of nutrients in green roof runoff.
In a study by USEPA (2009a), runoff from green roofs was found to contain higher
concentrations of most of the nutrients and ions evaluated. Despite the conflicting data
on the influence of green roof on water quality, the overall effect could be positive.
According to Rowe (2011), while newer green roofs may be a source of pollutants,
established vegetation and substrates can improve the quality due to absorption and
filtration of pollutants.
A number of studies report the hydrologic benefits and performance of green
roofs. Many researchers have documented the effectiveness of green roofs in reducing
stormwater runoff (Gregoire and Clausen, 2011; Dinsdale et al., 2006; Alfredo et al.,
2009; Fioretti et al., 2010; Mentens et al., 2006; Berghage et al., 2009; Simmons et al.,
2008; Hilten et al., 2008; Stovin et al., 2010, 2012). The hydrologic analyses of green
roofs have shown that they are highly effective for small storms while being less
effective for larger storms (Speak et al., 2013) and they extend the runoff duration
(Hilten et al., 2008). The hydrologic impact of green roof application at a watershed
scale was modeled by Carter and Jackson (2007). This study was carried out at a variety
of spatial scales and identified areas in the watershed where the reduction in total
impervious area would be significant. For a better understanding of the hydrologic
processes within the green roof and to accurately predict its hydrologic performance, a
number of models have been developed worldwide (She and Pang, 2010; Stovin et al.,
2013; 2015). Yio et al. (2013) have attempted to model the detention effects of green
roof substrates. It was shown that detention increased as a function of substrate depth
(Mentens et al., 2006) and organic matter content. Stovin et al. (2013) have developed
a hydrological flux model for prediction of runoff retention performance of extensive
green roofs. The authors observed that retention capacity of green roofs is strongly
influenced by the climatic conditions and restoration of the capacity after dry periods.
The apparent detention characteristics of a specific green roof system change when
exposed to different climatic conditions (Stovin et al., 2015). The retention in green
roofs is significantly lower in winter than in summer (Mentens et al., 2006; Berghage
et al., 2009). It also depends upon the antecedent moisture condition (Stovin, 2010). A
detention modeling approach applied with a suitable retention model helps in both, long
term statistical evaluation and detention performance evaluation based on design storm
(Stovin et al., 2015).
One of the important benefits of green roof application is its energy
performance. It was shown by Fioretti et al. (2010) that green roof outperforms the
reference roof and thus reduces the daily energy demand. The attenuation of solar
radiation through the vegetation layer as well as the thermal insulation performance of
green roof structures was good despite the less favourable climatic conditions in the
Mediterranean context. Green roof temperatures were cooler than the conventional
roofs at the roof membrane as well as inside the building (Simmons et al., 2008). The
article by Castleton et al. (2010) highlights the strong potential for green roof retrofit in
UK to avail the energy savings advantage offered by them.
The influence of plant species on runoff from green roofs was studied by Nagase
and Dunnett (2012). They found that grasses were most effective in reducing the runoff.
It can be concluded from this comprehensive literature review that green roofs have
multiple advantages in terms of energy, runoff and water quality management. The
environmental benefits and economic feasibility of green roofs is indisputable. They
have a good retrofitting potential in urbanized spaces with flat concrete roofs.

2.3.8 Permeable / Porous Pavement

Another effective method to reduce the total imperviousness in a drainage basin is
use of pervious pavements. Such pavements are most suitable for low traffic areas such
as parking lots, sidewalks. Pervious concrete, like conventional concrete, is basically
composed of cement, aggregates, admixtures and water. These systems comprise four
components (Scholz and Grabowiecki, 2007).
1. Pavers and bedding layer,
2. Unsaturated zone of the base material,
3. Saturated zone of the base material and
4. Sub-grade.
It may be called as a no-fines concrete mixture since the percentage of low fine grained
material is restricted or zero (Schwartz, 2010). These systems promote groundwater
recharge by infiltrating the stormwater, remove pollutants from the stormwater such as
heavy metals and suspended solids (Pratt et al., 1989, 1995, 1999; Booth et al., 1999;
Scholz and Grabowiecki, 2007) and reduce runoff volumes (Pratt et al. 1989, 1999;
Collins et al., 2008; Booth and Leavitt, 1999; Brattebo and Booth, 2003). The
hydrologic benefits of pervious pavements are quantified with an effective curve
number in a study by Schwartz (2010). Use of such a simple metric to characterize the
performance of these pavements can have a direct impact on quantification of
stormwater credits.
The tradeoff between permeability and compressive strength of the pavement is
directly affected by the mix design variables such as size distribution of the aggregate,
cement content, water to cement ratio and the compaction energy used during
placement (Delatte 2007; Schaefer et al., 2006).
One of the major limitations of these pavements is the clogging problem which
consequently reduces its hydraulic performance in the long run (Chopra et al., 2009).
Significantly less infiltration rates were observed at sites having close proximity to
loose fine particles as compared to those free of loose fines (Scholz and Grabowiecki,
2007). The research article by Chopra et al. (2009) presents the usefulness of
rejuvenation methods in restoring their hydraulic performance. The hydraulic
performance of these pavements over relatively impermeable subgrade soil and high
slopes was found to be exceptional (Fassman and Blackbourn, 2010).
Permeable pavements are an important and integral component of Sustainable
urban Drainage Systems. Although these systems reduce stormwater runoff, improve
the quality and contribute to groundwater recharge; their clogging problem, higher
costs, maintenance requirements and shorter life spans may inhibit their adoption in
developing countries like India.

2.4 Factors Affecting Selection of Alternative Stormwater Management

Systems (ASMS)
A number of stormwater management manuals published by various municipal
authorities enlist the factors / criteria affecting the suitability of adoption of ASMS. The
site designer and the planner should evaluate the site conditions along with these
suitability criteria before selecting appropriate strategies to manage the stormwater. The
following factors influence the selection of ASMS (Source: PGDER, 1999).
1. Space Requirements: One of the major criteria for selection is the availability
of adequate space. The ASMS should be integrated into and distributed
throughout the landscape.
2. Soils: Every facet of LID technology, including the site planning process, the
hydrologic considerations and the selection of appropriate ASMS needs proper
evaluation of soil and subsoil conditions. Some of the limitations imposed by
the characteristics of the soil on the site may be overcome by using
micromanagement practices, as well as the use of under-drains to provide
positive sub-drainage for bio-retention practices.
3. Slopes: Slope may restrict use of the larger traditional stormwater controls.
However, slope is seldom a limiting factor while using distributed
micromanagement practices. It can be incorporated as a design element into the
hydrologically functional landscape plan.
4. Water Table: The presence of a high water table may limit the use of these
techniques. At least 2 to 4 feet of separation between the bottom of the BMP
and the top of the seasonally high water table elevation should be provided.
Also, the potential for contamination should be considered, especially for urban
5. Proximity to Foundations: Care must be taken not to locate infiltration BMPs
too close to foundations of buildings and other structures.
Major limitations of ASMS noted by Goonetilleke and Yigitcanlar (2010) are as
1. Most systems are able to treat relatively small volumes of stormwater
2. No proven efficiency for removal of dissolved pollutants;
3. Effective in removing coarse particulates but cannot remove fine
particulates effectively which are generally more polluted and;
4. Adequate design guidelines are not available for system design.

2.5 Environmental and Hydrologic Benefits of ASMS

Large scale urbanization in the last few decades has tremendously increased
percentage of impervious surfaces in a catchment. These impervious surfaces prevent
infiltration which in turn reduces the groundwater recharge, lowers water table,
increases runoff volumes and peak discharges (Shaw, 1988; Barbosa et al., 2012). This
further degrades the water quality in streams and increases transport of pollutants
(Arnold and Gibbons, 1996; Walsh et al., 2005; USEPA, 1990).
LID features have multiple environmental benefits including reduction of pollutants in
runoff, increased groundwater recharge, habitat improvement and reduction in

frequency and severity of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) (NRC, 2008; Carmon and
Shamir, 2010; Novotny et al., 2010).
A number of studies have tried to investigate the impact of alternative
stormwater management strategies on hydrology. Many researchers have proposed and
investigated infiltration based low impact design to reduce the negative impact of
conventional stormwater management systems. Holman-Dodds et al. (2003) compared
three basic scenarios including an undeveloped landscape, a fully developed landscape
with traditional stormwater system, and a fully developed landscape with infiltration
based low impact design, using simple engineering tools. The manipulation of
urbanized landscape with LID was able to reduce the impact on hydrology but was
sensitive to rainfall event size and soil texture. They also observed that greatest
reductions are possible for small, relatively frequent rainfall events and more pervious
soils. The study concluded that the benefits are more for events that generate largest
relative increases from urbanization.
The impact of infiltration techniques on various development types was also
studied by Brander et al. (2004) and Williams & Wise (2006). The authors of both these
studies state that such techniques are effective in reducing runoff and confirm the
observations of Holman-Dodds et al. (2003) regarding sensitivity to soil texture
(Brander et al., 2004) and storm event type (Brander et al., 2004; Williams & Wise,
Hood et al. (2007) compared the effects of LID development and traditional
development in Waterford, Connecticut and observed that LID decreases peak
discharge rates, runoff volumes and the average runoff coefficient while decreasing the
lag times and runoff threshold. This study strengthens the conclusion by Holman-Dodds
et al. (2003); Brander et al. (2004) and Williams & Wise (2006) that alternative
techniques are most effective for smaller storms with shorter durations.
The effect of cisterns on peak discharge reduction, trap efficiency and runoff
volume reduction was analyzed by Schneider and McCuen (2006). The results showed
that the effectiveness of peak discharge reduction is a function of the size of storm
which increases with decrease in storm size. In another study by Gilroy and McCuen
(2009), the effects of both, location and quantity of cisterns, and bio-retention pits were
analyzed for a micro-watershed. The effectiveness of these BMPs is highly influenced
by both, the spatial location and storage volume. This study further corroborates the
findings by Schneider and McCuen (2006) regarding runoff reduction efficiency with
use of cisterns. They also observed that cisterns are capable of controlling rooftop
runoff for small storms. The authors suggest that BMP volume selection should
consider the design objective (which could be peak or volume control). The study
reports the concept of maximum BMP storage beyond which there will be little effect
on runoff volume or peak control. In South Carolina, results showed that although
smaller cisterns could be used for water supply, larger cisterns were needed for
adequate stormwater control (Jones and Hunt, 2010). Crowley (2005) determined that
installation of a 17,034 l (4,500 gal) tank at houses in a Portland, Oregon neighborhood
could reduce the average annual runoff volume by 68%. Gilroy and McCuen (2009)
calculated a reduction of peak runoff rate and volume of more than 30% for the one-
year recurrence interval storm for a single hypothetical single-family residential lot
served by four cisterns with the dimensions of 0.75 m diameter and 0.91 m height. Less
than 10% reduction was found for the two-year event.

2.6 Rainwater Harvesting (RWH)

Many scholars worldwide are working on the concept of rainwater harvesting,
its benefits in terms of the reduction in stormwater runoff volume and its utility as an
alternate source of water. In the article by Gerolin et al. (2013), a review of RWH
projects for stormwater management in various countries was carried out and the
possibility of integrating RWH and stormwater management practices in France was
explored. They concluded that RWH presents potential to be used as a stormwater
management option for addressing multiple benefits including flood prevention and
preservation of quality of receiving water bodies. A study was conducted by Thomas et
al. (2014) to understand common RWH system practices in the United States with the
help of an electronic survey. The most commonly reported use for harvested rainwater
was irrigation, although greater than 25% of the respondents use their rainwater for
potable purposes. Of the potable users, greater than 70% utilize ultraviolet (UV) light
as their primary treatment method and approximately 21% conduct no water quality
testing. This type of study can be used to guide future RWH research.
The barriers to implementation of RWH techniques are also identified by many,
which has resulted in the development of strategic frameworks for effective execution.
Steffen et al. (2013) have analyzed the projected performance of urban residential RWH
systems in the US. The results suggest that RWH systems present a high potential to
provide supplemental water supply. The benefits in water saving efficiency were found
to be over 90% for areas receiving higher precipitation. However the benefits reduced
to 20-50% for regions with less precipitation. The factors affecting the ability of RWH
as a supplementary source of water include cistern size, water use pattern and
precipitation. RWH offers modest potential for management of stormwater if
implemented for every household in a neighborhood. The authors conclude that the
RWH potential for stormwater management increases with decrease in precipitation.
The benefits are high for semiarid regions.
RWH in urban areas is accomplished by diverting precipitation runoff to a
location where it can be used or stored for later use or released. In its simplest form,
RWH is designed to convey runoff from a catchment (e.g., rooftop) to a landscaped
area for infiltration to support plant growth. Many studies have demonstrated the
effectiveness of RWH for meeting water supply and stormwater management goals.
Although RWH has proven benefits in stormwater management and as an alternative
resource, its effective implementation faces many barriers. One of the major barriers in
effective implementation of RWH systems is the economic viability. In a study by
Sample and Liu (2014), cost effectiveness of RWH systems is assessed for the dual
purpose of water supply and runoff capture by considering scenarios representing
various land use types. If the focus is exclusively on water supply unit costs, low and
medium density residential scenarios are found to be the most suitable however their
runoff capture cost is high. The lowest runoff capture costs were achieved for office,
commercial and high density residential scenarios. The most influential factor in this
analysis was found to be utility charges for water and wastewater. Expanding internal
water use can also improve net benefits.
Silva et al. (2015) have evaluated technical feasibility and economic viability of
RWH systems in Portugal. They have analyzed the efficiency of harvesting rainwater
and water savings efficiency achieved by RWH w.r.t. collection areas and tank
capacities. The RWH efficiency (ratio of harvested rainwater and available rainwater)
increases with tank capacity and decreases with collection area. The water savings
efficiency (ratio between used rainwater and the non-potable water demand) increases
with tank capacity as well as collection area. The effect is more pronounced for tank
capacity. There is an inverse relationship between the payback period and the tank
capacity, while for larger tank capacities, collection area is more influential. The
authors state that the water fees significantly influence the payback period and water

saving potential is more dependent on the daily precipitation distribution than the
annual precipitation up to a particular limit.
Water savings and financial viability for RWHS has been studied by Rahman et
al. (2010) for multistorey residential buildings in Sydney. Various scenarios in relation
to site area and floor arrangements were generated for a hypothetical multistorey
building and water balance model was developed for each scenario. The most important
factor affecting the financial benefits was found to be roof area. The authors concluded
that RWHS for multistorey buildings can be sustainable under some favourable
Although RWH is being looked upon as a novel solution to tackle the problems
of stormwater management, it is yet to become an accepted practice. Other than
economic aspects, effective implementation of RWH systems further gets impeded by
technical, social and institutional barriers. The article by Ward et al. (2012) addresses
this issue for RWH systems in UK, demonstrates the need for greater interaction
between macro, meso and micro levels and identifies strategic areas for future action.
The authors identify technical (product development), social (in terms of capacity
building) and institutional (support services) development areas in their strategic
framework for overcoming the barriers.
RWH systems have recently been looked upon as a runoff management tool for
urban areas. The potential of RWH for urban runoff management and for better
utilization of water resources, particularly for arid urban centers, is investigated by
Mahmoud et al. (2014). This paper then explores the potential of RWH in Khartoum
City Center as an option for storm water management, since the drainage system covers
only 40% of the study area. The potential runoff is computed using the United States
Natural Resources Conservation Services CN method (NRCS-CN). The authors
propose harvesting of rainwater from rooftops of commercial and business district area
to overcome the inadequacy of existing drainage network. They stress the importance
of harvesting especially for the hot dry season during which the harvested water could
be utilized for domestic and cooling purposes.
While many rural and urban areas are dependent on groundwater as a source of
drinking water supply, this source is challenged due to the increasing depth of water
table and degrading quality of the water. The contamination of groundwater in most of
the districts in Bangladesh by Arsenic poses a threat for its use as a source of drinking
water. According to Alam et al. (2012), rainwater harvesting can be a pragmatic
solution to this problem. The authors suggest that rooftop rainwater harvesting may be
able to fulfill the annual domestic water demand in rural areas of Bangladesh.
The type of roofs affects the quality and quantity of rooftop runoff. For RWH
systems to succeed in providing solution to the conflicting issues of flooding and
scarcity of water, roofs should be properly selected for maximizing availability and
ensuring better quality of runoff. Farreny et al. (2011) have provided criteria for roof
selection by comparing four types of roofs, viz., sloping roofs with clay tiles, metal
sheet and polycarbonate plastic, and a flat gravel roof. They found that the sloping
smooth roofs have 50% more RWH potential than flat rough roofs and present better
quality. This type of study can provide guidelines to urban planners for effectively
implementing RWH.
Zobrist et al. (2000) analyzed the quality of rooftop rainwater from an inclined
tile roof, an inclined polyester roof and a flat gravel roof. They stated that the quality
of runoff is a function of the type of roof cover, drainage systems and their interaction
with the atmospheric deposition. Rooftop rainwater quality was also studied in the
article by Hamdan (2009). The article states that smooth tile roofs have little influence
on quality and concrete roofs have a positive effect on removing heavy metals.
Rainwater utilization has the potential to tackle the flooding and water scarcity
problems, particularly in urban areas. However, rainwater utilization may be impeded
due to its contamination. Kim et al. (2005) have focused on developing technologies to
minimize the contamination level of rainwater in urban areas. They have proposed
novel techniques utilizing TiO2, sunlight and Bauxsol to reduce the concentrations of
particles, micro-organisms and nutrients.
RWH systems are gaining popularity due to their inherent advantages and are
being increasingly adopted to tackle the threats posed by urbanization and climate
change, which in turn are threatening the health and availability of water resources.
Many countries are trying to adapt to new practices, the major one being RWH. A
survey was conducted by Thomas et al. (2014) to understand the common practices of
RWH adopted in the United States. The results indicate that the harvested rainwater is
mainly being used for irrigation and is used for potable purposes by more than 25%

2.7 RWH Applications on GIS Platform
RWH is being increasingly adopted in many countries and decision support
systems are being developed. In order to integrate RWH systems in overall water
resources management, assessment of their hydrologic impact at watershed scale and
identification of suitable areas for its implementation are required. Kahinda et al. (2008,
2009) have developed rainwater harvesting decision support system for South Africa to
satisfy both the above mentioned objectives. It uses a GIS platform to assess the RWH
suitability and results of hydrologic impact are given in terms of runoff reduction.
A model to evaluate the site suitability for farm ponds to augment water supplies in
agricultural areas was developed by Napoli et al. (2014). A methodology integrating
GIS with a NRCS-CN model was developed and utilized to identify potential RWH
sites. The accuracy of the method was verified by field surveys. In another study by
Mbilinyi et al. (2007), a GIS based decision support system using remote sensing (RS)
and limited field survey was developed to identify potential RWH sites in Tanzania.
The outputs of the system are maps showing potential sites of water storage systems
(ndiva), stone terraces, bench terraces and borders. The study proves the capabilities of
RS, GIS and limited field surveys in identifying potential RWH sites. The methodology
proposed by Jha et al. (2014) uses remote sensing and conventional field data to select
suitable RWH structures. This methodology also uses NRCS-CN method to generate
runoff coefficient maps in the GIS environment. Using integrated geo-spatial and
MCDA techniques, suitability zones for various types of RWH structures such as check
dams, percolation structures, etc. were identified at a watershed scale.

2.8 Development of Models and Strategies for Sustainable Stormwater

As the urbanization and climate change effects are increasing, many countries
are developing strategies to manage the stormwater sustainably so as to reduce the risks
of flooding and deterioration of the quality of receiving waterways. A number of
models and decision frameworks are being developed worldwide.
A probabilistic model was developed by Zhang et al. (2014) for assessing the
effectiveness of runoff treatment strategy to satisfy the regulatory limits. This model
determines the fraction of storm runoff that needs treatment under the constraint of
regulatory discharge limit. The model when applied to an impervious surface runoff
showed that runoff management strategy is a function of the selection of the target
Quality of stormwater runoff is an important factor for developing effective
stormwater management strategy. The quality parameters of storm runoff from a small
urban residential area in a semi-arid region were analyzed in a study by He et al. (2010).
The study results indicate significant correlation between rainfall intensity and event
mean value (EMV) of Total Suspended Solids (TSS), while no significant correlation
was found between antecedent dry period and EMVs of all analyzed pollutants. Another
significant result regarding effect of first flush on TSS indicates that the entire storm
event should be targeted for TSS rather than just the initial stages.
An attempt to simulate runoff quantity and quality (TSS and TP) in residential,
industrial and commercial catchments using Storm Water Management Model
(SWMM) was made by Chow et al. (2012). They observed that prediction of runoff
quantity and quality using SWMM improved after considering antecedent moisture
condition, depression storage value and local estimates of build-up and wash off
parameters respectively.
The study by Ahmed et al. (2011) evaluated the effect of depression storage on
peak flow for an urban area in Hyderabad, India. The study concluded that the effect
on reduction in peak flow is significant if depth of depression storage is more in
pervious areas. Hence rainwater harvesting structures for every lot should be made
mandatory in order to sustain ground water levels and to minimize flooding during
storms in urban areas.

A decision support tool DUWSiM was developed by Willuweit and O’Sullivan
(2013) to model the effects of climate change and urbanization on water supply and
demand and urban water cycle. It uses a dynamic land-use model to assess the effects
of urbanization on various components of the water cycle such as stormwater runoff,
water demand, etc. using a scenario based approach.
The study by Burns et al. (2012) compares and contrasts the hydrologic effects
of the drainage-efficiency focused and pollutant-load-reduction focused conventional
approaches to urban stormwater management with those of a proposed alternative
approach. The authors propose a flow regime management approach to be applied at
smaller scale for protection of urban stream quality. However the cumulative effects of
measures applied at smaller scales on the catchment scale hydrology are not yet fully
understood. The authors suggest development of models to predict such performance
on the catchment-scale hydrology.
Scenario based approach was also used by Fletcher et al. (2007) to study the
effects of urban stormwater harvesting on water conservation and environmental flows.
The results indicated that stormwater harvesting is able to bring the flow and water
quality back to pre-development levels. However, the authors warn about potential of
over-extraction of flow and stress on the need to optimize the harvesting strategy. This
would ensure that both the supply and environmental flow objectives are satisfied.
Brodie (2012) has explored the compatibility between stormwater harvesting and
frequent flow management (FFM) systems. Since both these techniques offer similar
environmental and hydrologic benefits, the potential for their integration was also
explored. It was observed that stormwater storages in both these methods are
compatible to each other and thus integration of stormwater harvesting and FFM
systems can be beneficial.
The selection of suitable stormwater management alternatives depends to a
large extent on the level of development and consequently different decision levels
(regional, local or political) demand different strategies to deal with stormwater. This
necessitates sufficient information and clarity about the possibilities being assessed.
Also, the long term impacts of each decision need to be considered during the
evaluation (Barbosa et al., 2012). Hence a comprehensive and flexible approach to
manage the stormwater is required which will consider the local, societal and regional
priorities of the stakeholders. Different decision scenarios can be formulated based on
the technical and economic constraints. The authors further mention that the best
solutions may not be always the most innovative solution or involving high technology.
The choice of appropriate solution may vary based on available information and
stakeholder choices and should reflect environmental and social priorities.

2.9 Observations Regarding ASMS and Their Applications

The following conclusions can be derived based on the comprehensive literature
1. The dual challenges of water scarcity and flooding can be tackled by using
ASMS rather than the traditional strategies of stormwater management.
2. ASMS offer many benefits including reduction in runoff volume and peak,
moderate to good pollutant removal efficiencies and groundwater recharge.
Such systems blend well with the surroundings, improve aesthetics and may add
value to local property.
3. These systems can augment or supplement existing conventional systems with
the added benefits of water harvesting and conservation and protection of
receiving water quality. They can be provided in a centralized or de-centralized
manner. Some of them are suitable for retrofitting in dense urban areas.
4. RWH is emerging as an alternative way to manage the stormwater sustainably
and to combat the challenge of water scarcity. It is being adopted by developing
as well as developed countries for various objectives. The system can be
designed to derive maximum benefits considering the site constraints. GIS has
been popularly used to obtain different types of information and data for
adopting RWH systems. Decision support tools can be developed for selection
of appropriate measures which include stakeholder’s choices and which
consider technical, environmental and societal priorities.

2.10 Stormwater Management in India

The last few decades have seen tremendous growth in urbanization in India.
While the population of India has grown three times, there is a five times increase in
urban population after independence. According to the report of NDMA (2010), the
percentage of total urban population has increased from 17.3% in 1951 to 27.8% in
2008. It is estimated that the urban population would be 32.3% in 2021. A profound
demographic, social and economic transition has currently started in India. The
proportion of the urban population has doubled over the last thirty years (and is now
about 30%); agricultural contribution to GDP is only about 25%; and the economy is
growing at around 7% a year (India Year Book, 2006). India has a highly seasonal
pattern of precipitation, with 50% of precipitation falling in just 15 days and over 90%
of river flows in just four months. Today in the 21st century, India can store only about
30 days of rainfall, compared to 900 days in major river basins in arid areas of
developed countries (India’s Water Economy, 2005). The overall water balances are
precarious and crisis situations already exist in a number of basins. It is projected that
by 2050, demands will exceed all available sources of supply (GOI, 1999). The rapid
pace of urbanization in India is stressing the administration and management
particularly of urban waters. The massive scale urbanization has resulted in major
changes in the hydrology of urban catchments. Some of the major hydrological
challenges include stormwater management and drainage, rainwater harvesting,
artificial recharge of depleted aquifers, and paradigm shift from water disposal &
treatment to conservation and recycling of resources. Provision of food, shelter,
adequate and good quality water, clothing, health and education are still the prime
objectives of economic development and investment. Urban drainage has never been
included in the developmental priorities till date. It receives attention only when it
significantly affects the above mentioned factors, particularly the problem of urban
flooding. The NIH (2000) report attributes this to the financial limitations and because
urban drainage problems constitute “negative goods”. The NDMA (2010) report
differentiates urban flooding from rural flooding on the basis of percent precipitation
converted into runoff and increase in flood volumes and peaks. The effects of
urbanization are responsible for increasing the urban flood peaks by 1.8 to 8 times and
flood volumes by up-to 6. The high population density in urban areas and escalating
property prices force people to live in vulnerable areas who suffer due to flooding. The
event of flooding along with the secondary effect of exposure to infection may result in
human suffering, loss of livelihood and in extreme cases, loss of life. Urban areas are
also centers of economic activities with vital infrastructure which needs round the clock
While the focus of developed countries is mainly revolving around the diffused
pollution problems of stormwater management (Zhang et al., 2014; He et al., 2010;
Hsieh and Davis, 2005; Kim et al., 2012), the priorities in developing countries such as
Ethiopia (Abeje, 2004), Turkey (Yilmaz, 2004), India (Rahman, 2004) and Iran
(Motiee, 2004) are still drinking water and sewerage networks with very little attention
being paid to the urban drainage infrastructure. Typically, urban drainage is discharged
through open channels into lakes, streams or rivers. This runoff is contaminated by
direct discharges of sewage from un-sewered areas (Silveira, 2002). Such urban
drainage systems are unable to accommodate excessive stormwater flows as a result of
the rapid expansion of towns and cities. Sediments and solid waste bring more
complexity to this situation, contributing to the dissemination of diseases to the
population, as commented by Rahman (2004).
The fast pace of urbanization in India which is mainly for better employment
opportunities, wages and a desire to lead a better life is responsible for this pollution.
People migrating to cities are often required to work for lower wages due to lack of
formal education. Such low income communities accommodate themselves in low-
lying areas, often encroaching over drainage channels. In some cases, houses are even
constructed above the streams and drains. Most of these habitations discharge their
sewage into the existing stormwater drains due to lack of a proper sewerage network
thus deteriorating its quality (Gogate and Raval, 2015a).
The substantial volumes of garbage and sediment entering the storm sewers
further amplify the difficulties in implementing the sustainable stormwater
management model instead of the traditional model. It is estimated that 10 to 15% of
the urbanized area in developing countries contributes extensively to sediment
production and transport (Silveira, 2002). Sediment yields in areas undergoing
suburban development can be as much as 5 to 500 times greater than in rural areas
(NIH, 2000). The implementation of sustainable solutions for stormwater management
in developing countries is thus inhibited by the large amount of garbage entering the
drainage network. Despite the solid waste management policies, rigorous maintenance
procedures are required to be followed after every heavy storm and before the onset of
monsoon every year. This tremendously increases the maintenance cost of stormwater
The sharp rise in urban populations has created increasing requirement for better
and wider roads in Indian cities and towns. As a result, new roads are constructed and
existing roads are widened to accommodate the growing traffic needs. Most of these
roads and roads constructed earlier are not provided with a proper stormwater drainage
system. The stagnation of water during monsoon, localized flooding, potholes and
damaged roads are the outcomes of such improperly managed stormwater. This,
together with increasing number of vehicles, is causing traffic congestions (or slow
moving traffic). A lot of inconvenience and delay is now a commonly observed
phenomenon particularly during monsoon season. This leads to loss of productive time.
Pedestrian movement is also affected.
The haphazard and unplanned growth in Indian cities coupled with high
population densities is exerting tremendous pressure on the available water resources.
Many cities are undergoing crisis situation in terms of adequate water availability and
are relying increasingly on groundwater sources. About 50% of urban water
requirements are satisfied using this source (CGWB, 2007). This has caused the
groundwater levels in many parts of the country to decline and groundwater has reached
critical levels in some areas due to overdraft. Gurgaon, one of India’s youngest cities,
is facing a severe water crisis. Due to steep rise in population and high levels of
imperviousness in the city, catchment areas and lakes are getting affected. This
combined with greater reliance on groundwater has exacerbated the water situation in
the city. Integrated urban water management system is the only way to tackle this
situation. Stormwater harvesting (which may yield 500 million liters of water per year
for the city) is identified as one of the main constituent of the integrated approach.
Climate change is affecting the intensity, duration and spatial and seasonal variability
of rainfall. India receives seasonal precipitation typically during the months of June to
September. While evaluating the impact of precipitation on hydrology, ecology,
agriculture and water availability, the study of both the distribution of precipitation
through the season as well as the total monthly or annual amount of precipitation are
important (Guhathakurta and Saji, 2012). The long term rainfall trend in India is
analyzed by Kundu et al. (2014). Though, no significant trend was identified for annual,
seasonal, or monthly rainfall for entire Indian sub-continent, strong intra-seasonal
variability was observed for most regions of the country. An increase in pre-monsoon,
post-monsoon and winter rainfall has been detected while the monsoon rainfall has
decreased on an all-India basis. Since the hydrological and agricultural policy decisions
depend on the hydro-climatic variables, trend analysis results should be incorporated in
policy formulation and decision making.
The urban heat island effect is also responsible for the increasing amounts of
rainfall over many urban areas. The effect of climate change is more pronounced over
smaller spatial scales, which is evident from the higher temperatures detected in urban
areas as compared to the surrounding areas. In India, urban heat islands over Pune and
Chennai have been reported (NDMA, 2010).
The huge quantities of stormwater generated as a result of massive urbanization in India
remain unutilized and the current urban water infrastructure does not incorporate any
treatment strategies to improve its quality. Despite the inclusion of stormwater drainage
in the development plan, this issue remains neglected since India has a seasonal
monsoon and stormwater becomes important only when a problem arises (NIH, 2000).
This challenge cannot be addressed properly due to inadequacy of current financial
resources. The major factor leading to mismanagement of stormwater in India is
uncontrolled urban expansion, resulting into inadequate infrastructure and other basic
facilities. Socio-political and institutional factors, inadequacy of available data and lack
of a technological basis exacerbate the situation (Gogate and Raval, 2015a; Nair, 2007;
Silveira, 2002).

2.11 ASMS and Their Suitability in Urban Indian Context

Alternative sustainable urban stormwater drainage systems are recommended
to mitigate the effects of land-use changes and restore water quality (Parker et al.,
2009). Incorporating a variety of options for the management of stormwater is the need
of the hour (Brown et al., 2009). For integrating the concept of ASMS in stormwater
management, analysis of various aspects of these systems is required. Many aspects of
ASMS such as design (Schwartz, 2010; She and Pang, 2009; Zheng et al., 2006) and
effectiveness in reducing runoff and pollutants (Weiss et al., 2006) have been explored
by researchers. One of the important features of ASMS is their role in improving the
landscape, apart from diverting undesired water from urban areas. This not only
improves the aesthetics but also adds value to local properties (Galuzzi and Pflaum,
1996; Wang et al., 2006). The detrimental impacts of urbanization like increased
frequency of surface runoff, increased peak flows and increase in total runoff can be
alleviated by harvesting the stormwater (Fletcher et al., 2007).
Many researchers worldwide are exploring the opportunities of applying Rain
Water Harvesting (RWH) as a potential urban runoff management tool and as an
alternative resource, and are in the process of developing planned strategies for its
implementation (Alam et al., 2012; Fletcher et al., 2007; Hamdan, 2009; Mahmoud et
al., 2014; Steffen et al., 2013; Ward et al., 2012). Different RWH configurations can be
formulated depending on local guidelines, environment, stakeholders and expertise
(Roy et al., 2008).

However, the effective implementation of the sustainable urban stormwater
approach may be challenging, particularly in developing countries (Silveira and
Goldenfum, 2004; Silveira et al., 2001). Initiation and implementation of sustainable
drainage schemes are inhibited by uncontrolled urban development, leaving very few
open spaces to accommodate infiltration and detention devices. Highly contaminated
nature of runoff further restricts the adoption of infiltration based stormwater
management options. Thus, the factors hindering the adoption of centralized retention
and detention approaches for stormwater management in developing countries may
include maintenance tasks (McCuen and Moglen, 1988), space constraint (Burns et al.,
2012; Clar & Coffman, 2001) and non-point source pollution (USEPA, 1996; Teemusk
and Mander, 2011). Providing detention reservoirs may be challenging in densely
urbanized environments. Thus, detention or retention techniques have limited scope,
particularly in highly urbanized cities. Decentralized stormwater management
approaches can be advantageous in such conditions. Techniques which promote
artificial recharge of groundwater may avoid such problems.
Harvesting at the site scale may prove to be more beneficial as the collected
rainwater can either be used for multiple purposes or infiltrated into ground. Retrofitting
of site-scale watersheds with LID measures is one of the latest techniques for site scale
harvesting. The benefits of implementing RWH as a stormwater control measure and
as an alternative source of water for US cities and individual residents are evident from
the results presented by Steffen et al. (2013). Thus, micro scale, infiltration based LID
techniques, applied in a decentralized way, promise significant benefits for cities in
developing countries like India. Table 2.2 provides detailed information about available
sustainable stormwater management options and describes their advantages,
disadvantages and suitability in Indian context.

Table 2.2: Alternative Stormwater Management Measures and Their Suitability in the Indian Context

Management Advantages Disadvantages Suitability in Indian conditions
Bioretention (Rain 1. Reduction in runoff volumes and peak flows (Davis, 1. High sediment may cause premature 1. May not be suitable as a
gardens and bio 2008; Hunt et al., 2008) failure centralized means for
swales) 2. Generally requires less space and is more economical 2. Cannot be provided for large drainage management of stormwater due to
3. Requires less maintenance areas high sediment load.
4. Removes pollutants (Carpenter and Hallam, 2010; 2. Can be utilized in a decentralized
Kim et al., 2012) way for small drainage areas
5. Has aesthetic value (Luell et al., 2011)
6. Offers good retrofit opportunities for existing urban
Grass swales 1. Reduces runoff volume, peak flow and pollutants 1. Open channels may be potential 1. May lead to favorable conditions
(Parker et al., 2009) nuisance problems for proliferation of vectors or
2. Application is primarily along residential streets and 2. Moderate or high maintenance cost carriers of tropical disease
highways (Silveira, 2002)
3. Adaptable to a variety of site conditions 2. Maintenance issues may further
4. Flexible in design and layout complicate adoption of this
5. Less costly than conventional storm drain pipe system measure

Management Advantages Disadvantages Suitability in Indian conditions
Green roofs / 1. Reduces percentage of impervious spaces in urban 1. High initial cost 1. May not be suitable for old, small
Vegetated roof areas 2. Moderate maintenance cost residential buildings due to
covers 2. Reduction in runoff volume (Fioretti et al., 2010; 3. Climatic condition structural considerations
Simmons et al., 2008) 2. May be adopted for large roofs in
3. Reduce peak discharge rates (Alfredo et al., 2010; commercial zone where open
Fioretti et al., 2010; Getter et al., 2007; Stovin et al., space is limited
2012; Teemusk and Mander, 2007)
4. Provides aesthetic benefits (Banting et al., 2005)
5. Better thermal performance (Simmons et al., 2008)
6. Decrease in total energy consumption of buildings
(Banting et al., 2005; Castleton et al., 2010)
7. Mitigates the urban heat island effect (Banting et al.,
2005; Berardi et al., 2014)
8. Increases the longevity of roof membranes
(Oberndorfer et al., 2007)

Management Advantages Disadvantages Suitability in Indian conditions
Permeable / Porous 1. Effective in reducing imperviousness in a drainage 1. Costlier than conventional pavements 1. May not be suitable due to high
Pavements basin (USEPA, 2000) sediment load in stormwater
2. Recharges the groundwater 2. Suitable for low traffic areas such as
3. Improves the quality by arresting the pollutants parking lots and sidewalks (Fletcher et
(Collins et al., 2010) al., 2008; Scholz and Grabowiecki,
3. Clogging problems may arise due to
high sediment load (Chopra et al., 2009;
Fassman and Blackbourn, 2010)
4. Maintenance is costly (Ahmed et al.,
Infiltration devices 1. Reduces peak flow (Holman-dodds et al., 2003) 1. Require pretreatment to remove 1. Can be provided for small
(Leaky wells, 2. Recharges the groundwater (Moura et al., 2011) sediment drainage areas in a decentralized
Retention trenches, 3. Improves the groundwater quality 2. Unsuitable for soils with very low manner (Ahammed et al., 2012a)
Infiltration basins) 4. Reduces runoff volume (Ahammed et al., 2012a) hydraulic conductivity 2. Can be connected to any
3. Cannot be installed on steep slopes conventional RWH system which
4. Not suitable in areas with rising water has a filter to trap the debris
table or where salinity of groundwater is

Management Advantages Disadvantages Suitability in Indian conditions
Detention Basins 1. Attenuates peak flow 1. Little reduction in runoff volume 1. Unsuitable due to large space
(dry ponds, 2. Simple to design and construct 2. Has large space requirement hence may requirement and highly polluted
extended detention 3. Easy to maintain not be suitable in ultra-urban areas nature of stormwater (Silveira,
basins, detention 4. Can also function as a recreational facility 3. Provides moderate removal of 2002)
ponds, extended 5. Can be used with lining where groundwater is pollutants (Yang and Cui, 2012) 2. Regular maintenance is required
detention ponds) vulnerable 4. May turn into mosquito breeding sites if to prevent unhygienic condition
improperly managed
5. Normally provided towards the end of
sustainable urban drainage management
Retention Ponds 1. Reduces peak flow 1. Land requirement may limit use in 1. Not suitable due to scarcity of
(stormwater ponds, 2. Provides good stormwater treatment dense urbanized landscapes space and safety hazards.
wet retention ponds, 3. Provides high amenity and aesthetic benefits 2. Pose health and safety risks (Goldenfum 2. May lead to favorable conditions
wet extended 4. Adds value to local properties et al., 2007) for proliferation of vectors or
detention ponds) carriers of tropical disease

2.12 Need for Multi Criteria Decision Making
The comprehensive literature review on sustainable stormwater management and
on the possibilities of implementing such systems in developing countries suggests that
urban stormwater management is complex and there is a need for decision support to Urban
Local Bodies (ULBs) and planning agencies. The selection of appropriate strategies for
stormwater management often involves multiple criteria such as costs, environmental
performance, safety, ecological risks and community perception. There is a significant
growth over the last decade in Multi Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) applications in
environmental decision making (Huang et al., 2011) and in stormwater management
decision support systems (Baptista et al., 2007; Chung et al., 2011; Ellis et al., 2006, 2004;
Lee et al., 2012; Moura et al., 2011, 2007; Sugumaran et al., 2004). The next section
describes various Multi criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) methods and discusses their
applicability in various decision making situations.

2.13 Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA)

2.13.1 Introduction
Many times the selection of appropriate method / technique / technology involves
consideration of multiple factors or criteria which often are conflicting. As stated by
Hwang and Yoon (1981), ‘MCDA refers to making decisions in the presence of multiple,
usually conflicting criteria’.
There is a long history to the science of decision making and a wide range of methods are
available. Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon was the first to propose decision support in
1960s (Simon, 1960). Four steps are involved in decision making:
(i) Identifying the problem,
(ii) Generating alternatives,
(iii) Evaluating alternatives via evaluation schemes and
(iv) Selecting the best alternative.
According to most of the researchers, the most critical step is the selection of best
A multi criteria decision making process can be divided into 3 main steps.
1. Data collection for each alternative;

2. Expressing stakeholders’ preferences for each criterion and;
3. Determination of best alternative(s) by combining preferences and scores of all the
Decision makers find the third step most difficult and hence MCDM methods can be used
to identify the preferred alternative. For determining the preferences of the stakeholders,
many modes are available which mainly include direct rating, pairwise comparisons and
lotteries. While selecting the mode, it’s compatibility with the available data and
convenience of stakeholders should be considered.
The final result obtained after comparison of alternatives is sensitive to the choice
of MCDA method. Thus choosing an appropriate MCDA method may be the most crucial
step in the analysis, and a careful analysis of the available methods and its appropriateness
to the selected problem is very critical.
Two approaches can be used to include stakeholders’ preferences for comparison of
1. Multi-criteria selection methods in which preferences are used simultaneously for
ranking of alternatives.
2. Aggregative methods in which all the indicators along with their weights are
aggregated in a single variable, called as Performance Index (PI), reflecting the
performance of each alternative.
Zhou et al. (2006) have classified Decision Analysis methods into three main groups (Fig.

Fig. 2.10: Decision Analysis Methods (Source: Zhou et al., 2006)

2.13.2 Multiple Attribute Decision Making (MADM) and Multiple Objective Decision-
Making (MODM) methods
Decision making requires consideration of decision maker’s preferences to choose
the best alternative among options involving a number of often conflicting objectives. A
systematic modeling of these preferences can yield most appropriate results. The selection
of alternatives is usually based on more than one criterion. Thus, in practice, decision
making problems are often referred to as multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM)
problems (Kalbar et al., 2012). A variety of MCDM techniques ranging from simple rating
to highly sophisticated systems are documented in literature (Hwang and Masud, 2012;
Hwang and Yoon, 1981; Greco et al., 2005). Hwang and Masud (2012) define two
categories of MCDM methods: MADM (Multiple Attribute Decision Making) and MODM
(Multiple Objective Decision-Making). MADM involves selection of an alternative from
a finite number of feasible alternatives which are evaluated using set of attributes. While
MADM methods can handle discrete decision problems, MODM methods are suitable for
continuous decision problems in which there are infinite numbers of feasible alternatives
(Kalbar et al., 2012; Rao, 2013). MODM can optimize many conflicting objectives by
subjecting them to a set of defined constraints (Kalbar et al., 2012). This study involves a
finite set of feasible alternatives to be evaluated against a set of defined criteria and
indicators. Thus MADM methods are most suitable for this analysis.

2.13.3 MADM Methods
Decision makers frequently come across the problem of selection of the most
suitable alternative from a wide range of feasible options. This selection is based on
attributes such as technical, economic, environmental, social, etc., which are often
contradictory. MADM methods help in making preference decisions by evaluating and
ranking the alternatives based on conflicting attributes (Zhou et al., 2006). The processing
of attribute information varies with the MADM method adopted. Various MADM methods
are available for solving decision making problems, which use different ways of processing
of attributes to arrive at a choice (Rao, 2013). Two major approaches for processing of
attribute information are non-compensatory approach and compensatory approach (Hwang
and Yoon, 1981). The non-compensatory approach is mainly founded on the pairwise
comparisons of alternatives with respect to individual criteria (Collette and Siarry, 2013).
Tradeoffs between attributes are not permitted by non-compensatory models. This
indicates that an un-favourable value in one attribute cannot be offset by a favourable value
in some other attribute. Thus, such approaches allow the comparisons to be made on an
attribute by attribute basis. Some of the non-compensatory MADM methods include
dominance, maximin, maximax, conjunctive constraint, disjunctive constraint and
lexicographic methods. A compensatory model allows explicit tradeoffs between
attributes. Although it is more complex in terms of perception and knowledge base, the
outcomes from such models may be closer to the optimal. The chosen alternatives may be
better and more rational as compared to non-compensatory models (Yoon and Hwang,
1995). Multiple attribute utility theory (MAUT) is the basis for most of the compensatory
models in which a single overall criteria is proposed and optimized (Shanian and Savadogo,
Compensatory models are further classified into three subclasses:
1. Scoring models: Alternative with the highest score or maximum utility is chosen
by considering all of the attributes together at one time. e.g., simple additive
2. Compromising models: The alternative that is closest to the ideal solution is
selected. e.g., TOPSIS;

3. Concordance models: Preference rankings are generated based on how best they
satisfy a given concordance measure. e.g., ELECTRE (Kalbar et al., 2012).
4. Evidential Reasoning (ER) Approach: ER approach uses an extended decision
matrix. Each attribute of an alternative is described by a distributed assessment
using a degree of belief concept (Xu and Yang, 2001). The distributed assessment
helps in modeling precise data while capturing different types of uncertainties.
Based on the type of information available from the decision maker, there can be three
classes (Source: Hwang and Yoon, 1981; Yoon and Hwang, 1995).
1. No information: Examples include dominance, maximin, maximax.
2. When information on attributes is available, this category can be further sub-
divided into
a. Standard level (Conjunctive, Dis junctive)
b. Ordinal (Lexicographic, Elimination, Permutation)
c. Cardinal (Linear assignment method, SAW, Hierarchical additive weighting
method, ELECTRE, TOPSIS), and
d. Marginal (Hierarchical tradeoffs)
3. When information on alternatives is available, it can be classified as
a. Pairwise preference (LINMAP, Interactive SAW method)
b. Order of pairwise proximity (MDS with ideal point)
Other well-known MADM techniques include PROMETHEE (Preference Ranking
Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluation) (Brans & Vincke, 1985) and AHP
(Analytical Hierarchy Process) developed by Thomas L. Saaty (1995). An extensive
classification of MADM methods is available in Yoon and Hwang (1995). This
classification is based on the type (ordinal or cardinal) and the nature of the available
information. This summary of various MADM methods dominantly includes those
methods which are developed for processing information available in cardinal form
(Kalbar, et al., 2012).
Weighted summation is one of the most commonly used compensatory methods
(Marler and Arora, 2010). The method can convert incomparable attributes into
comparable ones (usually on a scale of 0-1). The attributes are prioritized by assigning
weights. Finally the weighted standardized scores are aggregated and alternatives are

ranked. This method has a well-established theoretical background and is easy to explain
and use, though loss of information is possible during standardization. The assumption
regarding the attributes being independent of each other is rather unrealistic in many cases.
Multiple Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT) uses the concept of a complex utility function.
An alternative is assessed by the decision maker with respect to each attribute. The decision
maker assigns importance weights to each attribute. The utilities across the attributes are
aggregated by using an appropriate combination rule. Each evaluation is carried out with
respect to its relevant value dimensions (Von & Edwards, 1986). The utility for the
evaluator forms the common denominator of all these dimensions. This method may
produce better rankings because the decision makers’ preferences are captured in terms of
the utility of attributes and a complex utility function can be used for aggregating the
utilities. Many researchers have applied MAUT to decision problems in various fields such
as water resources planning (Keeney, 1973); research and development planning (Keefer,
1977); energy and environmental management (Buehring et al. 1976), etc.
Another category of MADM methods is the one which is based on an outranking
approach. In these methods, an outranking relationship among alternatives is developed to
select the most satisfying alternative. The outranking relation represents the preference
ranking of the finite set of alternatives. The decision maker can express the preference in
terms of four preference relations: a strict preference, an indifference, weak difference and
incomparability (Roy, 1973; Seppala et al., 2001). The two most commonly adopted groups
of outranking methods are: (a) the elimination and choice translating reality (ELECTRE)
methods and (b) the preference ranking organization method for enrichment evaluation
(PROMETHEE) methods.
1. ELECTRE method
The MAUT models aggregate all criteria values in a single index to rank the alternatives
while the outranking approach in ELECTRE methods can be very different from this
approach. The outranking methods consider bad performance of an alternative on one or
more criteria irrespective of its potential good performance on some other criteria. Basic
MAUT models such as SAW prefer an alternative that demonstrates a superior
performance in the majority of criteria even though it is very weak in the remaining criteria.

The ELECTRE method was developed by Benayoun et al. (1966). The method has since
evolved and a number of versions have appeared subsequently (Roy, 1968; 1991; 1996;
Nijkamp and van Delft, 1977; Voogd, 1983; Mousseau and Slowinski, 1998). The
fundamental concept being the same, these versions are operationally somewhat different.
This method models the decision makers’ preferences through outranking relations and the
concept of concordance and non-discordance. The decision maker provides inter-criteria
information interpreted as the criteria weights. These weights represent the relative
importance among the objectives. The alternatives are ranked using the concept of
concordance and discordance. These matrices are estimated using their attribute score and
preference weights. The concordance matrix reflects the differences among the weights
whereas differences among attribute scores are represented by means of the discordance
matrix (Hwang and Yoon, 1981). The outranking relations are built using these indices and
threshold values. Using these relations, alternatives are classified as preferred and non-
preferred. The exploitation of these relations is useful in alternative selection.
Limitations of ELECTRE method
The scientific credibility of the method is questioned by the proponents who say that there
is lot of confusion and arbitrariness in the interpretations. The method and the applied
parameters are in-transparent. These methods are also criticized as ‘difficult to verify
empirically as models of human preferences’ (Stewart, 1992).
Voogd in (1983) has presented another method based on outranking approach called as
EVAMIX (Evaluation of mixed data). This method estimates the dominance scores of each
alternative on criteria by criteria basis. The quantitative and qualitative criteria are
aggregated with the help of different aggregation algorithms.
Although the ELECTRE method was successful in solving different problems, it required
determination of values of many parameters. Since the decision makers and analysts assign
these values, the method was found to be intricate by them. It was difficult to estimate
values of parameters such as concordance discrepancies and discrimination thresholds
clearly which did not have a real economic meaning. Their influence on the results could
also not be understood properly (Brans and Vincke, 1985). In order to avoid such
difficulties, a new approach which was simple and easy to understand was proposed by

Brans (1982). This approach is called as Preference Ranking Organization Method for
Enrichment Evaluation (PROMETHEE). This method is based on the extension of the
notion of the criteria which takes into account the extent of deviations between the
evaluations. These extended criteria represent the natural notion of intensity of preference.
The parameters have a real economic meaning. This makes it easy for the decision maker
to build them (Brans and Vincke, 1985). This method is most applicable to situations in
which the number of alternatives is finite and is involving several (may be conflicting)
criteria (Kalbar et al., 2012). The following six generalized criteria functions cover most
of the practical applications. They are: a usual criterion, a quasi-criterion, a criterion with
linear preference, a level criterion, a criterion with linear preference & indifference area
and a Gaussian criterion (Brans et al., 1986). A review of various PROMETHEE methods
and their applications can be found in Behzadian et al. (2010).
3. Analytic Hierarchy Process ‐ AHP
Another popular method having its own mathematical foundation is the Analytic Hierarchy
Process ‐ AHP method. Numerous applications of this method in a variety of areas have
been documented. The method is very flexible and can be integrated with other techniques
like linear programming, fuzzy logic, etc. (Vaidya and Kumar, 2006). It is one of the most
widely used multiple criteria decision making tools. AHP is a structured technique for
organizing and analyzing complex decisions. It was developed by Thomas L. Saaty in the
1970s (Saaty, 1977) and has been extensively refined since then. A decision problem is
structured using a comprehensive and rational framework in this method. It uses a multi-
level hierarchical structure of objectives, criteria, sub-criteria and alternatives. These
elements of the hierarchical structure can be comprehended and analyzed independently.
They are quantified by decision makers using pairwise comparisons of the alternatives
based on their relative performance against each criterion. The decision makers can use
concrete data as well as their judgments about the elements' relative meaning and
importance for comparing them. Thus the decision makers’ subjective assessments of
relative importance are converted into a set of overall scores or weights (Saaty, 1980). This
is based on the logic that humans are more capable of making relative judgments than
absolute judgments (Kalbar et al., 2012). A numerical scale of 1-9 is used to capture
decision makers’ preferences. The consistency can be checked by verifying the consistency

ratio. A numerical weight or priority is derived for each element of the hierarchy by
comparing them in a rational and consistent way. Finally, numerical priorities are
calculated for each of the decision alternatives. These numbers represent the alternatives'
relative ability to achieve the decision goal. Using these values, alternatives are ranked in
the order of their preference. The method is criticized for the rank reversal problem which
is encountered when new alternatives or criteria are added or old ones are deleted. This
problem would not arise if the newly introduced alternatives are not merely copies of
earlier ones and independence of the criteria among themselves and with the alternatives
is maintained. The second concern is about the inconsistency of the judgments. Such
inconsistent judgments may affect the aggregated results and the priorities derived from
them. The condition of order preservation holds for consistent judgements. While dealing
with inconsistent judgements, this condition may or may not hold (Saaty, 2008). According
to Saaty (2008) ‘It is axiomatically imposed, sacrificing the original intent of the AHP
process to derive priorities that match the reality represented by the judgments without
forcing consistency’.
4. Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solutions (TOPSIS)
The limitation of MAUT models which does not consider bad performance of an alternative
with respect to one or more criteria can be alleviated by using ideal and nadir solution
measures. The ideal solution is a hypothetical optimal alternative whose criteria values are
chosen to be the best of each column in a given decision matrix. In contrast, the nadir
solution is a hypothetical unfavorable alternative whose criteria values are chosen to be the
worst of each column in a given decision matrix. A preferred alternative should be as close
as possible to the ideal solution while it is far from the nadir solution (Kangas et al., 2001).
A good example of these methods is TOPSIS. It is a method developed by Hwang and
Yoon (1981) which has a sound mathematical basis. It is based on the compromising model
employing multiple attribute utility theory. The final ranking is based on an aggregating
function representing closeness to the ideal. The alternatives are ranked on the basis of the
shortest distance from the positive ideal solution (PIS) and the farthest from the negative
ideal solution (NIS). The distances to both PIS and NIS are considered while ranking and
a preference order is generated according to their relative closeness and a combination of
these two distance measures (Hwang and Yoon, 1981). Shih et al. (2007) address four

distinct advantages of this method. They are as follows. ‘(1) a sound logic that represents
the rationale of human choice; (2) a scalar value that accounts for both the best and worst
alternatives simultaneously; (3) a simple computation process that can be easily
programmed into a spreadsheet; and (4) the performance measures of all alternatives on
attributes can be visualized on a polyhedron, at least for any two dimensions’. Besides,
fewest rank reversals are observed for TOPSIS among the eight methods in the category
(Zanakis et al., 1998). Each alternative is compared directly depending on data in the
evaluation matrices and weights (Cheng et al., 2002). It also provides more distinct and
clear scores for the alternatives. This feature of TOPSIS facilitates the selection of best
alternative at each preference level (Kalbar et al., 2015).
MADM techniques offer useful and practical tools to solve real life problems with
discrete alternatives. The category of techniques in which cardinal information of attributes
is available, is found to be more convenient to decision making. This is owing to their
explicitly represented procedure. In this category, TOPSIS is one of the most
straightforward and hence popular methods. The requirement of paired comparisons is
lessened and the applicability is not limited by the number of alternatives or attributes (Shih
et al., 2007). Hence TOPSIS is most suitable while dealing with problems involving a large
number of attributes or alternatives and when information on cardinal scale is available. A
few weaknesses of the method are presented by Shih et al. (2007). They say that it does not
provide for weight elicitation and consistency checking for judgments.
There are numerous applications of TOPSIS in a variety of fields. The high flexibility
inherent in its methodology makes it more suitable for group decision making. Shih et al.
(2007) propose a group TOPSIS model for decision making. The authors claim that this
model does not cause additional computational burden and is efficient and robust. Since
weight elicitation is not involved in this methodology, either AHP or other suitable
methods can be used to obtain the weights (Shih et al., 2001).

2.13.4 Discussion
We collect a lot of information for decision making and today it has become a
mathematical science (Greco et al., 2005). One of the branches of Operations Research
(OR) models, dealing with decision making, is multiple attribute decision making. Most
decision problems involve multiple as well as conflicting criteria along with a set of pre-
defined constraints. Thus various methods are developed which will yield solutions that
can satisfy all criteria and constraints simultaneously. The MAUT forms the basis of the
models based on compensatory approach. The methods based on outranking approach are
preferred in most of the decision problems due to the equivalent importance being given to
the bad as well as good performance of an alternative with respect to one or more criteria.
The ELECTRE method includes this logic through the concordance and discordance
indices and TOPSIS through the ideal and nadir solutions. Both these concepts are
analogous in this sense. Hence both these methods have wide applications in many fields
of decision making. Two major limitations of the ELECTRE method are the confusion and
arbitrariness in the interpretations and the difficulty in empirical verifications as models of
human preferences. These limitations can be overcome by using TOPSIS which offers a
sound logic following rationale of human choice. It is also computationally simple with
fewest rank reversal problems.

2.13.5 Applications of MADM Methods

A wide range of MADM methods are available for generating hierarchy of options
in management decisions. MADM methods have been applied extensively for
environmental decision making. Some of the applications include diversion of water in a
watershed (Alipour et al., 2010), chemical selection in treatment of textile wastewater
(Aragonés-Beltrán et al., 2009), urban water supply (Abrishamchi, 2005), selection of
landfill sites (Melo et al., 2006), eco-environmental vulnerability assessment (Huang et al.,
2010), selection of appropriate wastewater treatment technology (Kalbar et al., 2012),
design of sustainable environmental management systems for cleaner production (Khalili
and Duecker, 2013) and selection of efficient solid waste management options (Vučijak et
al., 2016).

2.13.6 MADM Applications in Stormwater Management

There is a significant growth over the last decade in MADM applications in
environmental decision making (Huang et al., 2011). Similarly, researchers and urban
planners seeking efficient, reliable and consistent solutions to complex decision problems
in stormwater management have chosen MADM methods extensively, owing to the
multifaceted nature of the problem. The importance and need of multi-criteria policies for
stormwater management was first recognized by McCuen and Moglen (1988). Following
this, many researchers have developed decision making tools based on MADM procedure
for stormwater management (Baptista et al., 2007; Chung et al., 2011; Ellis et al., 2006,
2004; Lee et al., 2012; Moura et al., 2011, 2007; Sugumaran et al., 2004). Different
researchers have employed various methods of decision making according to the
requirements of the problem. Chung et al. (2011) have used the SAW method to calculate
alternative evaluation index and rank the alternatives. A decision support system
architecture is put forth by Levy (2005) which utilizes the Analytical Network Process
(ANP). A multi-criteria decision aid approach using ELECTRE III was developed by
Martin et al. (2007). This method was chosen since it is based on fuzzy logic which can
incorporate uncertainties. The multi-criteria results did not corroborate the national survey
findings reported in this study. This contradiction was attributed to the fact that decisions
are typically taken based on traditional engineering solutions as against the actual

implementation and O&M costs. ELECTRE TRI method was selected by Moura et al.
(2011) since it is a sorting method. This methodology suits the decision problem in this
work which aims at assigning strategies to predefined ordered categories (Moura et al.,
2007). EVAMIX method was used for developing a decision support tool for urban
drainage by Al-Ani et al. (2011); Sidek et al. (2008) and Sidek & Ezlin (2011).
PROMETHEE was used by Inamdar (2013, 2014) to rank potential stormwater harvesting
sites in urban areas.

2.13.7 Selection of Appropriate MADM Method Suitable for This Work

The problem of selection of suitable stormwater management alternative usually
involves many options. The selected decision making methodology should provide for
inclusion of many criteria to incorporate the concept of sustainability. The methodology
should reflect the decision makers’ and stakeholders’ preferences in selecting the
alternative. Hence, TOPSIS seems to be the most appropriate method for this work.
TOPSIS is based on information which is available in cardinal form. The present study
aims to develop a decision support tool which will integrate sustainability in decision
making. This necessitates the use of quantitative as well as qualitative indicators in the
analysis. Thus the subjective assessments need to be converted into numerical values. The
present work uses the AHP method for quantifying qualitative indicators. AHP is a proven
method in decision analysis based on pairwise comparisons. The stakeholders’ preferences
are incorporated through AHP and then integrated in TOPSIS for ranking the alternatives.
AHP is also used for weight elicitation in the present study.