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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: HYDROLOGIC PROCESSES, SCALE, CLIMATE VARIABILITY, AND WATER RESOURCES FOR SEMIARID WATERSHED MANAGEMENT Title: Estimating an overall infiltration value in an urbanized watershed using high-resolution satellite images and ground measurements 1934

Authors
item Finke, T. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
item Moran, Mary
item Yool, S. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
item Kennedy, J. - USGS

Submitted to: Water Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 27, 2007
Publication Date: August 29, 2007
Citation: Finke, T., Moran, M.S., Yool, S., Kennedy, J. 2007. Estimating an overall infiltration value in an urbanized watershed using high-resolution satellite images and ground measurements. 2007 Regional Water Symposium, 29 Aug. - 1 Sept., Tucson, AZ. (abstract}.

Interpretive Summary: Rain water infiltration is part of the water cycle and is strongly influenced by human activities, such as urban growth. Changes in infiltration rates due to urbanization can affect storm water runoff, soil moisture and groundwater recharge. This is of particular concern in areas of rapid urbanization and low water availability, such as the Southwestern United States. The goal of this study was to use high-resolution satellite images and a limited number of ground measurements to estimate an overall infiltration value in a small, recently developed watershed in Sierra Vista, Arizona. This estimate was compared to that for an adjacent undeveloped watershed on the area of Fort Huachuca. We measured 70 infiltration rates using a disk permeameter in the urbanized watershed and the undeveloped and undisturbed watershed on the Fort. These measurements were used to calculate a representative mean value of infiltration rates for each watershed. High-resolution satellite imagery was used to determine pervious areas in the urbanized watershed using object-based classification. The combination of the mean values derived from permeameter measurements and the spatial extent of the pervious surface from the satellite-based estimates resulted in an estimated amount of infiltrated water for the whole watershed. The comparison of the two watershed estimates will allow an evaluation of urbanization impacts on soil properties, especially changes in infiltration capacity.

Technical Abstract: Rain water infiltration is part of the water cycle and is strongly influenced by human activities, such as urban growth. Changes in infiltration rates due to urbanization can affect storm water runoff, soil moisture and groundwater recharge. This is of particular concern in areas of rapid urbanization and low water availability, such as the Southwestern United States. The goal of this study was to use high-resolution satellite images and a limited number of ground measurements to estimate an overall infiltration value in a small, recently developed watershed in Sierra Vista, Arizona. This estimate was compared to that for an adjacent undeveloped watershed on the area of Fort Huachuca. We measured 70 infiltration rates using a disk permeameter in the urbanized watershed and the undeveloped and undisturbed watershed on the Fort. These measurements were used to calculate a representative mean value of infiltration rates for each watershed. High-resolution satellite imagery was used to determine pervious areas in the urbanized watershed using object-based classification. The combination of the mean values derived from permeameter measurements and the spatial extent of the pervious surface from the satellite-based estimates resulted in an estimated amount of infiltrated water for the whole watershed. The comparison of the two watershed estimates will allow an evaluation of urbanization impacts on soil properties, especially changes in infiltration capacity.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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