A Width Parameter Estimation Through Equivalent Rectangle Methodology for Hydraulic Modeling Applications

Principal Investigator



Jose Ricardo Bonilla Brenes
Rafael Oreamuno Vega
Jochen Hack


October 2019 - October 2023


PCSWMM hydraulic modeling requires the estimation of different parameters, allowing the determination of the basin's response upon a given precipitation event. Some physical parameters, such as area or perimeter, are measurable and can be accurately determined; however, other parameters’ estimation present greater uncertainty, such as the width parameter.

For regular and uniform drainage areas, width parameter estimation is relatively simple; however, when a complete irregular basin analysis is required, the width´s determination presents greater uncertainty, and its representativeness becomes complicated to define.

Width determination is idealized with the representation of a rectangle, where for an equal area, a higher width will result in a faster response of the basin, while a lower width will result in a slower response of the basin. This research project attempts to estimate a representative value of width for a realistic, irregularly shaped basin by defining the equivalent rectangle, which considers the area, perimeter, and compactness index of the basin. The compactness index can be used to classify the basin by its shape. The shape of the basin is an indicator of how the precipitation histograms are temporally distributed and how the water flows through the basin, i.e., it defines the response speed of the basin, as the width parameter does in modeling.

The "width" parameter has a high sensibility in PCSWMM modeling results; therefore, an inaccurate estimation of the parameter leads to unrepresentative results. For this reason, this study seeks to find an optimal methodology to reduce modeling uncertainty and achieve more accurate simulations of an irregular watershed's hydrological response.

The following figure shows the distribution of elevations of the watershed and its representation through the equivalent rectangle methodology.


There are no discussions for this research project.