Conservative finite-volume forms of the Saint-Venant equations for hydrology and urban drainage
New integral, finite-volume forms of the Saint-Venant equations for one-dimensional (1-D) open-channel flow are derived. The new equations are in the flux-gradient conservation form and transfer portions of both the hydrostatic pressure force and the gravitational force from the source term to the conservative flux term. This approach prevents irregular channel topography from creating an inherently non-smooth source term for momentum. The derivation introduces an analytical approximation of the free surface across a finite-volume element (e.g., linear, parabolic) with a weighting function for quadrature with bottom topography. This new free-surface/topography approach provides a single term that approximates the integrated piezometric pressure over a control volume that can be split between the source and the conservative flux terms without introducing new variables within the discretization. The resulting conservative finite-volume equations are written entirely in terms of flow rates, cross-sectional areas, and water surface elevations – without using the bottom slope (S0). The new Saint-Venant equation form is (1) inherently conservative, as compared to non-conservative finite-difference forms, and (2) inherently well-balanced for irregular topography, as compared to conservative finite-volume forms using the Cunge–Liggett approach that rely on two integrations of topography. It is likely that this new equation form will be more tractable for large-scale simulations of river networks and urban drainage systems with highly variable topography as it ensures the inhomogeneous source term of the momentum conservation equation is Lipschitz smooth as long as the solution variables are smooth.