Abstract

Rainfall spatio-temporal distribution is of great concern for rainfall-runoff modellers. Standard rainfall observations are, however, often scarce and/or expensive to obtain. Thus, rainfall observations from non-traditional sensors such as commercial microwave links (CMLs) represent a promising alternative. In this paper, rainfall observations from a municipal rain gauge (RG) monitoring network were complemented by CMLs and used as an input to a standard urban drainage model operated by the water utility of the Tabor agglomeration (CZ). Two rainfall datasets were used for runoff predictions: (i) the municipal RG network, i.e. the observation layout used by the water utility, and (ii) CMLs adjusted by the municipal RGs. The performance was evaluated in terms of runoff volumes and hydrograph shapes. The use of CMLs did not lead to distinctively better predictions in terms of runoff volumes; however, CMLs outperformed RGs used alone when reproducing a hydrograph's dynamics (peak discharges, Nash–Sutcliffe coefficient and hydrograph's rising limb timing). This finding is promising for number of urban drainage tasks working with dynamics of the flow. Moreover, CML data can be obtained from a telecommunication operator's data cloud at virtually no cost. That makes their use attractive for cities unable to improve their monitoring infrastructure for economic or organizational reasons.

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