Non-stationary analysis for road drainage design under land-use and climate change scenarios

Heliyon. 2022 Feb 16;8(2):e08942. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e08942. eCollection 2022 Feb.


Frequency analysis has been the most widely used tool worldwide to dimension water-related infrastructures and evaluate flood risks. The concept of stationarity has been a common and practical hypothesis in hydrology for many years. However, in recent decades due to climate change pressure and changes in land use, it has been related to the presence of time-series trends that in hydrology indicate non-stationary effects. In this sense, the need to comprehensively address non-stationary frequency analysis has been identified. This study proposes to incorporate the non-stationary flood frequency analysis into the dimensioning process of road structures with the following objectives: i) evaluate the effect of land use on peak flow in a simulated period of 129 years, ii) evaluate covariates related to land use, and iii) evaluate covariates related to climate change. To this end, road drainage simulation exercises were carried out in three sections of the Ibagué-Cajamarca road located in Colombia. Likewise, the Generalized Additive Models for Location, Scale and Shape was implemented for the non-stationary analysis, and covariates related to climate variability were included, such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation indices (ONI12, ONI3.4, MEI, and SOI), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index, as well as some related to the evolution of land use such as hydraulic conductivity, soil water storage in the root zone, and infiltration capacity represented in the curve number. The results indicate that the non-stationary analysis improves the prediction of maximum flows, and it is possible to obtain road drainage dimensioning that adjusts to climate and land-use variations.

Keywords: Capacity road drainage structure; Climate change non-stationary effects; Maximum runoff simulation; Modeling land-use change; Non-stationary flood frequency analysis NSFFA.