Assistant Professor Usman Khan from the Department of Civil Engineering contributed to a paper on sustainable stormwater management technologies that has recently been published in the Journal of Water Management Modeling.
In Hydrological Efficacy of Ontario’s Bioretention Cell Design Recommendations: A Case Study from North York, Ontario, Professor Khan and his collaborators Mantas Bacys, Professor Jit Sharma and Professor Thomas R. Bentzen critiqued the current infrastructures in-place to manage stormwater runoff. With increasing urbanisation and climate change impacts, they are no longer adequate to handle the rise in risk of floods in cities. He proposes popular new sustainable alternatives to managing stormwater like bioretention cells.
“Currently, there is no universally accepted design guidelines for bioretention cells - local climatic conditions, soil types, urbanisation levels, all play an important part in determining the optimum design. In this research, we use a statistical approach to optimise the design of bioretention cells for use in Toronto,” says Professor Khan.
While Toronto was used as a case study, the approach is generalizable to other locations.
Through Khan’s research, they discovered that bioretention cells can be successfully used to capture the majority of runoff from very extreme rainfall events if designed properly. The research lead to the creation of new recommendations for the design of bioretention cells in Toronto to meet runoff control targets as the current design suggestions are not adequate.
Professor Khan is most excited with the integrity of sustainable infrastructure in stormwater management to meet the demands of the future.
“Sustainable infrastructure, like bioretention cells, will form an integral part of our stormwater management plans, especially with existing infrastructure in bad repair, increasing urbanisation (so more runoff), and extreme events (due to climate change).”