Dubuque - Stormwater Climate Action Plan

For their capstone design project, students in Civil and Environmental Engineering prepared a Stormwater Climate Action Plan that addresses current and future problem areas within the city’s stormwater system and provide potential action items to account for climate change effects.

The capacities for Dubuque’s stormwater detention basins were established in the early 1990s. Since that time, annual rainfall has outpaced predictions and is expected to increase in the coming decades. The City and area watershed administrators are considering redesigning existing detention basins while also understanding the capacities for future ones.

With intensifying weather-related climate change issues, rainfall intensity is expected to increase in the Dubuque area. This means the city’s stormwater system needs to be prepared during high-intensity rainfall events to manage increased volumes of rain within stormwater basins and increased outflows through the outlets and other downstream structures. 

The engineering team’s analysis includes an estimation of future rainfall trends based on historical information and predicted climate change effects on rainfall, which are used to analyze potential issues Dubuque’s stormwater system may face in the future. They analyzed these basins to see if they could handle current and future increased-intensity rainfall events,  and then developed three adaptation options for issue areas. Using findings from the basin analysis, the team generated city-wide recommendations through the Stormwater Climate Action Plan.