All things are possible when it comes to weather events – including Desert Floods. Vestal Corporation is designing a mega brewery just 30 miles off the arid coast of Gulf of California in Sonora, Mexico. Throughout the year this area experiences very little rainfall, although bordering a coast makes the area prone to seasonal heavy rainfall from pacific coast cyclones creating inundation flooding.
Like most coastal deserts around the world the cities in the Sonora Desert have little-to-no drainage infrastructure, apart from local elevated irrigation canals and agricultural drainage districts. Surface drainage is often through arroyos in each valley that connect through a major river to the ocean or to an endorheic basin. These conditions often pose unique challenges when designing a large industrial development.
To minimize the negative effects heavy seasonal and historic rainfall events have on desert developments Vestal Corporation works closely with the national, state and local agencies, and local drainage and irrigation districts reviewing hydrologic cycles and hydraulics of existing irrigation and drainage canals in order to better understand the systems and help with the development of an integrated comprehensive study that will balance the needs of other nearby commercial, residential and industrial developments, agriculture, and the project, while assuring compliance with all standards and specifications of the agricultural and infrastructure.
Initially we develop a list of objectives for the study:
– Estimate precipitation depths and intensities
– Consider precipitation trends (for example 5 minute rainfall peaks and even hail frequency) that may be attributable to climate change
– Peak flows for return periods or frequencies to match land use requirements
– Hydraulic capacity of existing agricultural drainage channels and crossings structures
– Municipal and regional plans for development
– Propose solutions to manage the stormwater runoff and peak flows for a 100-year return period
– Establish minimum building pad elevations, typically 18″ above 100-year
– Prepare guidelines, specifications and recommendations for a storm drainage system design
With this information in hand we investigate and study the surrounding area:
– Land Use
– Regional Geology and Soil Types
– Catchment Slopes
– Tributary Areas and Sub-basins
– Existing Drainage Channel condition and maintenance
– Irrigation and Water Resources
– Climate for the Area
– Tropical Cyclones
– Weather Register (historical and considering recent climate change trends)
– Application of hydrological models
In conclusion, Hydrologic Studies are an essential tool Vestal uses to make sustainable design recommendations that both protects and environmentally integrates an industrial facility into a community while mitigating and minimizing the impact of the inevitable “Desert Flood”.