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Preparing drainage systems for a deluge

NSF Award:

Phase VI: Climate Change and Energy: Basic Science, Impacts, and Mitigation  (University of Kansas Center for Research Inc)

Congressional Districts:
Research Areas:

Engineers design stormwater management systems to handle a specific amount of water. To ensure current stormwater systems can handle future weather changes, a Kansas State University team, supported by the Kansas Experimental Program to Stimluate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), is studying how climate change affects rainfall and weather patterns throughout the state.

The research, led by Stacy Hutchinson, involves understanding how climate change and the conversion of natural prairie and agricultural land to urban and suburban uses, influence flooding. Updated rainfall distribution data gathered by the researchers will help with future adaptation and mitigation strategies for both land-use and stormwater management.

Stormwater management systems include terraces and graded waterways in agricultural fields or storm sewers with underground pipes that transport road runoff. In the Manhattan area of Kansas, natural systems such as grassed waterways are designed to handle slightly more than 3.5 inches of rain in 24 hours. Past weather data shows that this type of rainfall event occurs about once every 10 years. However, climate change may create larger storms that produce more rainfall and predictions suggest that these types of storms may occur more frequently.


  • most of kansas experiences larger precipitation events than previously predicted
Most of Kansas experiences larger precipitation events than previously predicted.
Stacy Hutchinson, Kansas State University

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