EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Impact of malfunctions on urban drainage for different design rainfall events

Fabian Funke1, Stefan Reinstaller2, and Manfred Kleidorfer1
Fabian Funke et al.
  • 1University of Innsbruck, Department of Infrastructure, Unit of Environmental Engineering, Austria (
  • 2University of Technology, Institute of urban water management and landscape engineering, 8010 Graz, Austria

Urban drainage is subject to a variety of external influencing factors that can have a negative impact on hydraulic system performance. These include changing precipitation characteristics due to climate change [1], an increase in sealed surfaces due to advancing urbanisation [2], but also further failures and malfunctions [3] in the technical grey and green infrastructure. With an increasing share of decentralised urban stormwater measures and uncertainties regarding responsibility, care and maintenance of these facilities, an increase in malfunctions can be assumed [4]. In this work, we are investigating common malfunctions in urban drainage systems with 1D/2D urban flood model in a virtual urban study site. The goal is to highlight differences between the failures and malfunctions in both grey and blue-green infrastructures for different design rainfall events (Type Euler II) and compare them to other possible scenarios like climate change and urbanization.

For the research, a model of a small virtual urban study site (1.5ha) is developed with the commercial software PCSWMM2D [5], which represents a small part of an urban catchment. It includes the following sub-structures and assets: i) combined sewer system, ii) urban stream, iii) urban structures including buildings, marketplaces, streets, bridges, pathways, and underbridges and iv) four sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) structures (green roofs, permeable pavements, swales and bioretention cell). Connected to the combined sewer system are three border areas (30ha, 10ha, 10ha), representing inflows from outside. The urban drainage infrastructures and SUDS were designed based on a design rainfall (Euler Typ II) event with a 5-year return period and 1-hour event duration.

In total 12 different scenarios were designed for the virtual urban study site i) the SUDS-base-scenario which includes four different green infrastructure assets, ii) three reference scenarios with climate change, urbanisation and wet preconditions and iii) the malfunction-scenarios with seven single malfunction scenarios and one worst case which is all of the single scenarios combined. Each scenario was run with design rainfall events with an Euler II distribution and interval lengths between 15 minutes and 24 hours as well as return periods between 1 and 100 years.

To compare the different scenarios and assess their severity for the urban area we used 3 different objective values. i) The maximum water depth in the vulnerable infrastructure (underbridge), ii) the flooded area with water depths > 10cm and iii) the total combined sewer overflow emissions released into the urban stream.

Results show a clear difference between the different malfunction scenarios, with a higher influence of malfunctions in grey than in green infrastructures. In most cases, the reference scenarios climate change, urbanisation and wet preconditions show higher values than the malfunctions scenario. All scenarios are highly dependent on the rainfall event characteristics, with no differences in the objective values compared to the base case for low return periods and rising differences for medium to high return periods.

How to cite: Funke, F., Reinstaller, S., and Kleidorfer, M.: Impact of malfunctions on urban drainage for different design rainfall events, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-6652,, 2022.

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