Optimizing retention basin networks

Quentin B. Travis, Larry Mays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Retention basins are an effective and common means of flood control. Differing from detention, retention fully contains a particular storm event, using infiltration as the primary means of disposal. For a complex watershed with multiple subwatersheds; however, requiring basins to retain only flow from their contributing subwatershed may result in a suboptimal solution both in terms of cost and overall flood control. This paper introduces a design procedure for considering location and sizing of a network of retention basins within a watershed. It utilizes the discrete dynamic programming technique to determine the ideal locations and geometry for each basin. A design example demonstrates that this method may allow significant cost savings over traditional methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-439
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008


  • Floods
  • Optimization
  • Retention basins
  • Routing
  • Storm water management
  • Water management
  • Watersheds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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