The ability to predict the runoff response of an urban catchment to rainfall is crucial for managing drainage systems effectively and controlling discharges from urban areas. In this paper we assess the potential of commercial microwave links (MWL) to capture the spatio-temporal rainfall dynamics and thus improve urban rainfall-runoff modelling. Specifically, we perform numerical experiments with virtual rainfall fields and compare the results of MWL rainfall reconstructions to those of rain gauge (RG) observations. In a case study, we are able to show that MWL networks in urban areas are sufficiently dense to provide good information on spatio-temporal rainfall variability and can thus considerably improve pipe flow prediction, even in small subcatchments. In addition, the better spatial coverage also improves the control of discharges from urban areas. This is especially beneficial for heavy rainfall, which usually has a high spatial variability that cannot be accurately captured by RG point measurements.

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