Assessing the effects of increased impervious surface on the aquifer recharge through river flow network, case study of Jackson, Tennessee, USA


Understanding pathways connecting urbanization to the recharge process across the land surface and river environment is of great significance in achieving low-impact development. Accordingly, the contribution of an urbanized region with a low and high development rate, along with the expected overflow into the river network resulting from increased impervious surfaces, was assessed in the recharge rate at Jackson, Tennessee. To this end, first, the losses were calculated using the standard and modified SCS-CN methods for the maximum probable flood condition. Then, TUFLOW was applied to simulate the two-dimensional flood for a historic 24-h probable maximum precipitation event with a 100-year return period. The results of TUFLOW were later calibrated using the results of standard and modified SCS-CN methods. A calibrated MODFLOW was employed to assess the effects of urbanization and, consequently, the plausible extended river network on the recharge rate. Results revealed that the West Wood contribution in groundwater recharge was 19 % less than the Musa Street, while it supplies approximately 2.7 % more flow than Musa Street. The performance evaluation results of TUFLOW showed 0.4916 and 0.689 as Nash–Sutcliffe, respectively, for the standard and modified SCS-CN methods. Although the flow velocity and depth were respectively increased by 3.3 % and 8.3 % under modified SCS-CN compared to the standard one, the soil water storage capacity remained constant at equal to 0.16 mm. Results revealed that the maximum soil water storage capacity was fulfilled soon through the modified SCS-CN than the standard method leading to higher flood volume and discharge. To this end, the discharge resulting from modified SCS-CN was approximately 1.5 times higher than that in the standard method under the same precipitation condition. Our findings suggest that designing any construction, mainly dams downstream, based on the modified SCS-CN estimations will provide more safety, particularly in crowded regions. Also, overflowing the excess surface runoff into the river network resulted from the increased impervious surface amplifying the flow volume, depth, and velocity across the river networks, finally leaving the area without increasing the aquifer's recharge rate. The results provide insights into possible sustainable development options and flood management in the built-up area.

Publication Title

Science of the Total Environment