Assessment and Modeling of Hydrologic Response to Urbanization in the Río Piedras Watershed, San Juan, PR.

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Assessment and Modeling of Hydrologic Response to Urbanization in the Río Piedras Watershed, San Juan, PR

Lori Cornell and Myrna H. Hall

The objectives of this study were to examine how three scenarios of potential development could influence the hydrologic function of the Río Piedras River Watershed and compare those results to the modeled hydrologic response of a completely forested or a completely urbanized watershed. The scenarios of future development assessed included

  1. an empirically based rate of development as determined from satellite image detection 1991 -­‐ 2010,
  2. the same rate of development but with watershed stakeholder identified conservation areas withheld from future change, and
  3. a rate of development based on statistical analysis of socio-­‐economic factors that correlate with development rate in the past. Because flooding, and its socio-­‐economic consequences, are of major concern in the Rio Piedras Watershed, hydrological response was measured as the frequency of flood events under each scenario. Events were those that met or exceed calculated runoff for design year storms as defined by the US Geological Society.

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