• infiltration;
  • stormwater infiltration system;
  • unsaturated flow;
  • model calibration;
  • numerical approximation and analysis;
  • groundwater/surface water interaction


Stormwater infiltration systems are a popular method for urban stormwater control. They are often designed using an assumption of one-dimensional saturated outflow, although this is not very accurate for many typical designs where two-dimensional (2D) flows into unsaturated soils occur. Available 2D variably saturated flow models are not commonly used for design because of their complexity and difficulties with the required boundary conditions. A purpose-built stormwater infiltration system model was thus developed for the simulation of 2D flow from a porous storage. The model combines a soil moisture–based model for unsaturated soils with a ponded storage model and uses a wetting front-tracking approach for saturated flows. The model represents the main physical processes while minimizing input data requirements. The model was calibrated and validated using data from laboratory 2D stormwater infiltration trench experiments. Calibrations were undertaken using five different combinations of calibration data to examine calibration data requirements. It was found that storage water levels could be satisfactorily predicted using parameters calibrated with either data from laboratory soils tests or observed water level data, whereas the prediction of soil moistures was improved through the addition of observed soil moisture data to the calibration data set. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.