Development of a model simplification procedure for integrated urban water system models : conceptual catchment and sewer modelling

Authors: Pieper, Leila
Advisor: Vanrolleghem, Peter A.
Abstract: Modelling urban wastewater networks within integrated systems, focusing on both water quantity and quality, introduces flexibility to develop solutions with greatest benefit to the overall system. Integrated models provide benefits over traditional single sub-system models by facilitating efficient analysis of interactions between the individual components of urban water systems (i.e. catchments, sewers, treatment plants, and receiving waters) within a single modelling platform. The reduced complexity of this type of model decreases the computational burden compared to their detailed counterparts. This allows for a wider range of assessments such as scenario-testing, RTC optimization, and Monte Carlo uncertainty analyses. The potential to create these types of representative integrated models was proven in multiple studies, however, the current methods to develop these models are not well-established nor well documented, and therefore require significant work for each case study. Furthermore, the lack of a standardized method to represent the water quantity portion limits the wide-scale application of such models for water quality studies. Although research is required to further develop and optimize all methodologies involved with building Integrated Urban Wastewater System (IUWS) models, this project focuses on the simplified catchment and sewer conceptual models for water quantity. The objective of this study was to develop a structured procedure to translate detailed hydrologic and hydraulic models into the simplified conceptual models used in IUWS modelling. The aim was to improve repeatability, flexibility and efficiency of the general approach, regardless of chosen modelling platforms. This task was achieved by extracting the key steps and considerations while building two simplified conceptual models of a case study in central Ottawa, Canada. The central urban portion (6,400 ha) of a calibrated detailed PCSWMM model of the City of Ottawa, containing a mix of separated, partially-separated and combined sewer areas, was used as the reference model in this case study. The main task involved determining how to translate this detailed model into simplified conceptual models, using WEST as the platform, in a structured, systematic and repeatable way. The resultant developed procedure follows a similar sequence as the protocols reviewed in the literature review, while taking into consideration specifics related to aggregating catchments and sewers. The four main phases of this thesis are Project Definition, Model Development, Calibration and Validation. Two versions of the lumped model were created; the first was created with a certain level of aggregation, while the second was a further aggregation of the first model, resulting in about half the number of blocks and reservoirs. Both models were calibrated and compared to the detailed model as well as to each other. The simulation results showed that the volume and dynamics (ie. the shape of the hydrographs) of the conceptual models emulated those of the detailed model well (< < 10% differences), while providing a significant reduction in simulation-time speed-up (10 to 80 times faster than the detailed model). The simulation time reduction in the more aggregated model was not equivalent to the increased level of aggregation, mostly due to the fixed amount of basic calculation required in each model. As generally expected, larger but acceptable differences were found during the validation period compared to the calibration period. These differences were attributed to several factors, such as the lack of a long-time series calibration, oversimplified representations of special structures, the different mechanisms in the detailed and conceptual models used to represent wet weather flow, and the configuration of the model code. Overall, the validation was successful given the fact that the calibration was performed using events whereas the validation used an extended time series of 45 days. In general, the devised procedure helped reduce the manual labour associated with building a model and structured the approach to build the conceptual models. General findings from the various identified phases were also documented throughout the model building process. In the Project Definition phase, the conceptual model’s objectives guided the method of model development and calibration. The catchments and sewers were delineated concurrently in the Model Development phase, while taking into consideration the locations of the key hydraulic structures, raingauges and overflows. The Calibration phase allowed for the most systematic advancement of the model build, given that a good calibration order was defined and a limited set of parameters was targeted in each successive run. The Validation phase proved critical in pinpointing deficiencies in the initial assumptions and calibrated values, thus determining whether the model is ready for use or needs to be modified through one of the preceding phases. An efficient and structured procedure that translates catchment and sewer representations from detailed to conceptual models in IUWS was developed and successfully applied to a case study. As demonstrated in this project, applying the proposed structured procedure will lead to the efficient development of representative IUWS models, thus increasing their potential use to test real-life scenarios. To challenge and improve the formulated procedure, applying it to multiple case studies is recommended.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2017
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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