Applications of network analysis for adaptive management of artificial drainage systems in landscapes vulnerable to sea level rise


Journal Article

The vulnerability of coastal landscapes to sea level rise is compounded by the existence of extensive artificial drainage networks initially built to lower water tables for agriculture, forestry, and human settlements. These drainage networks are found in landscapes with little topographic relief where channel flow is characterized by bi-directional movement across multiple time-scales and related to precipitation, wind, and tidal patterns. The current configuration of many artificial drainage networks exacerbates impacts associated with sea level rise such as salt-intrusion and increased flooding. This suggests that in the short-term, drainage networks might be managed to mitigate sea level rise related impacts. The challenge, however, is that hydrologic processes in regions where channel flow direction is weakly related to slope and topography require extensive parameterization for numerical models which is limited where network size is on the order of a hundred or more kilometers in total length. Here we present an application of graph theoretic algorithms to efficiently investigate network properties relevant to the management of a large artificial drainage system in coastal North Carolina, USA. We created a digital network model representing the observation network topology and four types of drainage features (canal, collector and field ditches, and streams). We applied betweenness-centrality concepts (using Dijkstra's shortest path algorithm) to determine major hydrologic flowpaths based off of hydraulic resistance. Following this, we identified sub-networks that could be managed independently using a community structure and modularity approach. Lastly, a betweenness-centrality algorithm was applied to identify major shoreline entry points to the network that disproportionately control water movement in and out of the network. We demonstrate that graph theory can be applied to solving management and monitoring problems associated with sea level rise for poorly understood drainage networks in advance of numerical methods. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Poulter, B; Goodall, JL; Halpin, PN

Published Date

  • August 15, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 357 / 3-4

Start / End Page

  • 207 - 217

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1694

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2008.05.022

Citation Source

  • Scopus