The water balance of a sub-Arctic town

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Urban water balances differ from their rural counterparts due to extreme spatial heterogeneity, water imported from outside catchment boundaries and changed flow paths (e.g., drainage pipes and impervious surfaces). Urban catchments are characterized by increased peak discharges and fast response times, each contributing to specific environmental problems. The water balances of towns in the northern high latitudes are further complicated by snow which represents an energy dependent seasonal water store. This paper investigates the monthly water balance of Lulea (June 1992 to June 1996), a Swedish town of 71 000 inhabitants 100 km south of the Arctic Circle. The town has snow cover for five to six months of the year and thaw is usually in late April. Data available included daily precipitation, temperature and inflow to the Uddebo waste water treatment plant; and monthly potential evapotranspiration, groundwater levels and water supply statistics. Of interest were the seasonal differences in runoff volumes and flow pathways to the waste water treatment plant and receiving waters. It was found that increased volumes of runoff, reduced concentration times and long duration led to flooding and high waste water loads at the treatment plant. The surface water component of sewage originates from direct flow into pipe inlets and infiltration into sewer pipes. Autumn and spring were found to be the periods of groundwater recharge, although frozen soil can limit water percolation. Copyright (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Water Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1871-1885
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number12-13
StatePublished - 1999
Publication categoryResearch

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