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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Land use effects on water quality: Building a framework for Chicago River watershed
by Mahdi, Naila Ghidey Ismail, Ph.D., Illinois Institute of Technology, 2012, 258; 3529157
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study is to develop a framework that enables a holistic watershed approach that models the dynamics of water quality and landuse in a highly urbanized watershed. The landuse-water quality relationship is complex and has not been adequately addressed. Factors such as inadequate urban planning, increase of impervious areas and dynamics of population growth are some of the reasons for the complex relationship. Examining this relationship can give insights and important information about existing and potential sources of contamination. The two backbone concepts in this study are the holistic watershed perspective and the role of historical data records as part of assessment, modeling and integration tools. Data sources are often important but data availability, heterogeneity and conformity are the main challenges in integrating these sources. This research presents a multi-dimensional model that integrates data from heterogeneous sources. It also supports complex querying and discovery of trends and patterns in data by incorporating 40 years worth of watershed data from different source agencies in a central repository. The discipline of data driven modeling using the developed central repository is investigated too. Several regression and classification algorithms were presented and assessed for their appropriateness for predicting total nitrates using few watershed attributes. The results showed acceptable prediction accuracy. Also, five years of water quality simulation using the multi-purpose environmental analysis system BASINS coupled with HSPF resulted in export coefficients for level (III), detailed land use for the Chicago River watershed. The water quality simulation approach utilized in this research to generate the coefficients constitutes a new contribution to the Chicago River watershed and other highly urbanized watersheds. The continuous calibrated and validated model can be used in the investigation and analysis of different scenarios and possible future conditions, thus providing a planning tool for regulatory environmental agencies. The data driven models developed can be used as operation tool to maintain the water quality parameters especially if TMDL and WQS are developed for Chicago River Watershed. So the framework proposed for this study can be considered robust with the proposed integration, planning and operating techniques and tools.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pagilla, Krishna
School: Illinois Institute of Technology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Civil engineering, Water Resource Management, Environmental engineering
Keywords: Chicago River, Land use, Water quality, Watersheds
Publication Number: 3529157
ISBN: 978-1-267-64752-8
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