In this research, we propose recurrent neural networks (RNNs) to build a relationship between rainfalls and water level patterns of an urban sewerage system based on historical torrential rain/storm events. The RNN allows signals to propagate in both forward and backward directions, which offers the network dynamic memories. Besides, the information at the current time-step with a feedback operation can yield a time-delay unit that provides internal input information at the next time-step to effectively deal with time-varying systems. The RNN is implemented at both gauged and ungauged sites for 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-min-ahead water level predictions. The results show that the RNN is capable of learning the nonlinear sewerage system and producing satisfactory predictions at the gauged sites. Concerning the ungauged sites, there are no historical data of water level to support prediction. In order to overcome such problem, a set of synthetic data, generated from a storm water management model (SWMM) under cautious verification process of applicability based on the data from nearby gauging stations, are introduced as the learning target to the training procedure of the RNN and moreover evaluating the performance of the RNN at the ungauged sites. The results demonstrate that the potential role of the SWMM coupled with nearby rainfall and water level information can be of great use in enhancing the capability of the RNN at the ungauged sites. Hence we can conclude that the RNN is an effective and suitable model for successfully predicting the water levels at both gauged and ungauged sites in urban sewerage systems.
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 14(7), pp.1309-1319