Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Suzette Burckhard


Research has shown a potential 20% increase in future heavy and extreme precipitation events over the Midwestern States. Drainage infrastructures designed using current design conditions may not be able to convey projected runoffs resulting in flooding and damage to infrastructure. The objective of this paper is to determine the effects of future climate variability on culvert selections in a southwest South Dakota watershed. The scope of the study was defined through a comprehensive literature review. Future climate events were based on a 20% increase in current annual precipitation over the Upper White River Subbasin Watershed. A portion of the White River was modeled to obtain simulated current and future peak discharges for a 10, 25, 50, and 100 year return period using ArcGIS and HEC-HMS. A previously washed out 12 foot CMP culvert on BIA-route 32 was analyzed under each specified return period, using HY-8 and Hydraflow Express, to verify culvert performance. This was compared to the capacity of the current 12 foot x 12 foot – side by side – box culvert following the same procedure. Results indicated the 12 foot CMP culvert was underdesigned for the current 25 year return period; intuitively was also not able to convey the future 25 year return period. The 25 year return period was the main focus of the study because BIA-Route 32 is classified as local and street road (ADT > 100) with a minimum design return period of 25 year precipitation event (SDDOT, 2013). Compared to the 12 foot x 12 foot –side by side xix –box culvert which was able to convey the current 25 and 50 year return periods, but was unable to convey the projected future 25 year return period. The 12 foot x 12 foot – side by side – box culvert being able to convey the current but not the future peak discharges was an indication of future climate having a possible effect on culvert design.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Climatic changes
Watersheds--Climatic factors--Mathematical models
Culverts--White River Watershed (Neb. and S.D.)


Includes bibliographical references (pages 127-132))



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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