Integrative Assessment of Stormwater Infiltration Practices in Rapidly Urbanizing Cities: A Case of Lucknow City, India

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The lack of strategic planning in stormwater management has made rapidly urbanizing
cities more vulnerable to urban water issues than in the past. Low infiltration rates, increase in
peak river discharge, and recurrence of urban floods and waterlogging are clear signs of unplanned
rapid urbanization. As with many other low to middle-income countries, India depends on its
conventional and centralized stormwater drains for managing stormwater runoff. However, in the
absence of a robust stormwater management policy governed by the state, its impact trickles down to
a municipal level and the negative outcome can be clearly observed through a failure of the drainage
systems. This study examines the role of onsite and decentralized stormwater infiltration facilities,
as successfully adopted by some higher income countries, under physical and social variability
in the context of the metropolitan city of Lucknow, India. Considering the 2030 Master Plan of
Lucknow city, this study investigated the physical viability of the infiltration facilities. Gridded
ModClark rainfall-runoff modeling was carried out in Kukrail river basin, an important drainage
basin of Lucknow city. The HEC-HMS model, inside the watershed modeling system (WMS), was
used to simulate stormwater runoff for multiple scenarios of land use and rainfall intensities. With
onsite infiltration facilities as part of land use measures, the peak discharge reduced in the range of
48% to 59%. Correlation analysis and multiple regression were applied to understand the rainfallrunoff
relationship. Furthermore, the stormwater runoff drastically reduced with decentralized
infiltration systems.

Binaya Kumar