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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Modeling Green Roof Potential to Mitigate Urban Flooding in a Chinese City

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The Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River (MLRYR) region, which has humid subtropical climate conditions and unique plum rain season, is characterized by a simultaneous high-frequency urban flooding and reduction in groundwater levels. Retrofitting the existing buildings into green roofs is a promising approach to combat urban flooding, especially for a densely developed city. Here, the application potential of the Green Roof System (GRS) and the Improved Green Roof System (IGRS) designed to divert overflowing water from green roofs to recharge groundwater were analyzed in a densely developed city, Nanchang, China. For the first time, the influence of GRS on the hydraulic condition of Combined Sewage System/StormWater System (CSS/SWS) is analyzed, which is a direct reflection of the effect of GRS on alleviating urban flooding. The simulation results show that GRS can retain about 41-75% of precipitation in a 2-hour timescale and the flooding volumes in the GRS/IGRS region are 82% and 28% less than those of the Traditional Roof System (TRS) in 10-and 100-yr precipitation events, respectively. In the continuous simulations, GRS also enhances Evapotranspiration (ET), which accounts for 39% of annual precipitation, so that reduces the cumulative surface runoff. Considering the IGRS can provide more hydrological benefits than the GRS under the same climate conditions, we may conclude that the widespread implementation of both the GRS and the IGRS in Nanchang and other densely developed cities in the MLRYR region could significantly reduce surface and peak runoff rates.

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