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The Hydrological Effects of Urbanisation in the Canon's Brook Catchement, Harlow New Town, Essex.

Hollis, GE; (1974) The Hydrological Effects of Urbanisation in the Canon's Brook Catchement, Harlow New Town, Essex. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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The effect of the construction of Harlow, Essex on the hydrology of the Canon's Brook is investigated using pre-recorded rainfall and runoff records. Similar hydrological data covering a per od of urbanisation was found for 32 other English catchments. The 8.25 sq. mile clay basin of the Canon's Brook had an average rainfall of 23.9 inches per year during the study period 1950-68; a three year rural period was followed by urban expansion resulting in 16.6% of the catchment having impervious surfaces by 1968. Water yield was increased by urbanisation; a digital simulation model of the rural catchment revealed increases in/water yield of between 0.3 and 4.9 inches with about 16% of the basin paved. The increase in yield was smallest in wet years and greatest in dry years, confirming the results of a synthesis of data from published papers. Low flows increased with modal flow rising from 2 to 4 or 5 cusecs during the study period. The mean maximum monthly floods increased 220% because of the urbanisation and the frequency of summer floods, particularly those in the range 40-100 cusecs, increased markedly whilst the frequency of winter floods did not alter. The mean unit hydrograph for the 16% paved basin had a peak 4.6 times greater than its rural counterpart and the time of rise and width of the unit hydrograph at 50% of peak flow were 44% and 20% of the rural values respectively. However, large floods of over 150 cusecs, with a return period of perhaps 20 years, were largely unaffected by urbanisation, thus confirming the results of a synthesis of published data which showed that the effect of urbanisation on floods is inversely related to the recurrence interval of the floods. The apparent enlargement of the channel because of the changed flood conditions was not statistically significant. Sediment accumulation in a regulating reservoir gave a rate of erosion of 0.088 inches per century for a period of construction activity which when compared with published figures supports the view that construction activity increases erosion and sediment yields.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The Hydrological Effects of Urbanisation in the Canon's Brook Catchement, Harlow New Town, Essex.
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS. Some images have been excluded due to third party copyright.
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Geography

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