In recent years, runoff pollution from urban areas has become a major concern all over the world. But there exists a worldwide confusion about how much stormwater should be captured for the purpose of runoff pollution control. Furthermore, the construction cost and pollution control efficiency are closely linked with the size of stormwater facilities, which is then related to the first flush (FF) phenomenon and volume capture ratio of annual rainfall (VCRa). Based on this background, analysis of the random and changeable characteristics of the occurrence of FF was carried out first, which was proved to vary with catchment characteristics and pollutant types. Secondly, the distribution of design rainfall depth toward 85% VCRa in China and its causes have been analyzed. Thirdly, the relationship between initial runoff and VCRa has been studied at both conceptual and numerical levels, and the change rule of VCRa along with design rainfall depth in different regions has been studied. The limitation of initial runoff has been illustrated from the perspective of runoff characteristics of single rainfall events in the first part, and from the perspective of regional differences in the two subsequent parts.

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