The impact of climate change on established retention ponds – A case study from UWI, St. Augustine


At the St. Augustine Campus, UWI, a retention pond has been used in the past 30 years to manage storm runoff from the Campus catchment. In the past, from time to time floods were experienced causing inconveniences to staff and students and led to some property losses. Recently a pump was installed to improve the effectiveness of the pond. Although improvements are expected it is not clear how the pond may function in the future under climate change induced precipitation regimes. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential effect of climate change on the efficiency of a retention pond. The study utilised the characteristics of the catchment area, which include land cover, soil condition, infiltration and elevations and intensity duration curves, to create unit hydrographs by the NRCS method. Hydrographs for four historic storms were developed based on the rainfall data. Climate change scenarios that are consistent with projected changes for the southern Caribbean were subsequently incorporated into the developed hydrographs for simulating the performance of the pond under these projected future conditions. Preliminary results suggest that the current pond would fail more often in the future. As it is not practical to change the dimension of the pond, using the pump at an appropriate time during the storm can reduce the incidents of flooding by an appreciable level. These simulations would be used to develop operation rules for the pump. This approach would be useful where detention ponds are to be installed in cases where there is changing infrastructure.


E. J. Peters, V. Cooper, and J. Heath