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# THE RATIONAL METHOD introduction

##  perhaps the most widely runoff-rainfall models is the rational method

 the rational method perseveres due to its simplicity and its broad coverage in the
literature

 the rational method is what is called a peak discharge design method, we must
here appreciate the difference between a design method and an evaluation
(analysis) method

##  the design method is not required to be as accurate as an evaluation method as

some factor of safety is always incorporated into the design

 further, due to the assumptions required, the rational formula is generally limited
to urban watersheds smaller than 200 acres

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THE RATIONAL METHOD introduction

 in the rational method, the intensity of the design storm is assumed to remain
constant

 it is further assumed that of all storms having the same return period, the one
whose duration is equal to the time of concentration would produce the largest peak
discharge

 for this reason, in the rational method the design storm duration is set equal to the
time of concentration of the watershed

 so now we appreciate if the storm duration is less than the t o c, this means that
the rain will cease prior to the maximum discharge being obtained

 alternatively, if the storm duration is larger than the t o c, then equilibrium will be
reached, however, the equilibrium discharge will be smaller for the same return
period as the intensity corresponding to a longer storm duration is less than the one
corresponding to a duration equal to the t o c

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THE RATIONAL METHOD introduction to the procedure

 the rational method procedure that is frequently applied to determine the design
discharge for a stormwater structure is summarized below

## 2. compute the t o c of the watershed – the choice of t o c determination formula

depends on design manuals and regulations particular to the site

3. set the design storm duration equal to the t o c and determine the design storm
intensity form the IDF curves appropriate for the project site

## 4. determine the design discharge utilizing

Qp = C i A - [7]

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THE RATIONAL METHOD introduction to the procedure

Qp = C i A - [7]

here

## C = dimensionless runoff coefficient

i = rate of rainfall

## A = surface area of drainage basin

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THE RATIONAL METHOD introduction to the procedure

Qp = C i A - [7]

 expression [7] is valid for any consistent set of units, alternatively Qp can be in cfs,
i in inches per hour, and A in acres

 the following tables (5.15 and 5.16 in text) present the values of runoff coefficient,
C suggested for 5 to 10 year design storms

 it is recommended that higher coefficients be used for less frequent storms having
higher return periods (ASCE 1970)

##  adjustments may be made as follows: the 5 to 10 year values may be increased

by 10, 20, and 25% for 20, 50, and 100 year storm events respectively

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THE RATIONAL METHOD introduction to the procedure

## Runoff Coefficients for Different Land Use Types

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THE RATIONAL METHOD introduction to the procedure

## Runoff Coefficients with Respect to Surface Type

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STORMWATER DRAINAGE STRUCTURES the basics

 street gutters, drainage inlets (grate, curb-opening, and slotted), storm sewers,
manholes, junctions, culverts, and surface drainage channels are all examples of
urban stormwater drainage structures

 such structures are regular facets of urban infrastructure and must be designed
as such

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STORMWATER DRAINAGE STRUCTURES the basics

## drainage of street pavements

 storm water on a street pavement can interrupt traffic and represents a safety
hazard owing to increased skidding, hydroplaning, and reduced visibility from
splashing

##  thus, effective removal of stormwater from street pavements is an essential

component of an urban stormwater management plan

 the design objective of pavement drainage systems is to keep the spread of water
over the pavement below an allowable value for a specified return period

 generally, the higher the traffic volume, the larger the return period

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STORMWATER DRAINAGE STRUCTURES the basics

## drainage of street pavements

 the following table suggests design return periods and allowable spreads for

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STORMWATER DRAINAGE STRUCTURES the basics

##  roadway geometry also plays an important role in pavement drainage 

longitudinal slopes higher than 0.5% are recommended for curbed pavements with
an absolute minimum of 0.3%

 cross slopes of 2% are recommended for most situations since this slope
provides adequate drainage with a significant effect on driver comfort and safety
(cross-slopes beyond 4% should not be used)

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STORMWATER DRAINAGE STRUCTURES drainage of street pavements

gutter flow

 gutter flow computations are applied to ascertain the flow depth and spread of
water on the shoulder, parking lane, or pavement section under design flow
conditions

 the design discharge is often calculated using the rational method (even
though)flow in a gutter is unsteady and non-uniform, we just assume that it is
steady and uniform at the peak design discharge (this is a conservative assumption)

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STORMWATER DRAINAGE STRUCTURES drainage of street pavements

## gutter flow: triangular gutters

 in gutter flow the hydraulic radius is very small, so the Manning’s equation must
be slightly modified to accommodate this

 for the triangular gutter shown below, the modified Manning’s expression is
written as

Qp = knT8/3Sx5/3SL1/2/2.64n - [8]
 or
T = (2.64Qn/knSx5/3SL1/2)3/8 - [9]

 here

Q = gutter flow
kn = conversion constant (1.0 m1/3/s (SI) and 1.49 ft1/3/s (US))
T = top width SL = longitudinal bottom slope
n = Manning’s roughness Sx = cross slope
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STORMWATER DRAINAGE STRUCTURES drainage of street pavements

## gutter flow: triangular gutters

 the top width term, T is interchangeable with water spread, we note

y = SxT - [10]

 here we also appreciate that [8] can be written in terms of flow depth, y

Qp = knT8/3Sx5/3SL1/2/2.64n - [8]

Q = kny8/3SL1/2/2.64nSx - [11]

##  we further note that flow area A is expressed as

A = ½ SxT2 - [12]

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STORMWATER DRAINAGE STRUCTURES drainage of street pavements

## gutter flow: composite gutters

 in a composite gutter section as the one shown in the figure below, we must
account for two flow components, Qw and Qs

Q = Qw + Qs - [13]

 here

##  it can be shown that

Q = Qs / 1 – E0 - [13]

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STORMWATER DRAINAGE STRUCTURES drainage of street pavements

## gutter flow: composite gutters

 it can be shown that

Q = Qs / 1 – E0 - [13]

 where

## E0 = 1 / {1 + SW/Sx / [1 + (Sw/Sx) / (T/W – 1)]8/3 – 1} - [14]

 and we have

Sw = Sx + a/W - [15]

##  we can further deduce from the geometry at

right that we can write

y = a + TSx - [16]

## A = ½ SxT2 + ½ aW - [17]  of course here y = flow depth at the curb, and

A = flow area
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