Theme 1

FLOOD REGIMES IN CANADA: LEARNING FROM THE PAST AND PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

Theme 1 will advance our knowledge of flood regimes in Canada (past, present and projected future) and provide guidelines for infrastructure design.  This work is important to FloodNet since improved understanding of extreme events in Canada, both present and future, is required to design flood control infrastructure, plan for flood mitigation systems, and appropriately implement land use planning to minimize the economic and social impacts of flood events.  The increased understanding of extreme events to be obtained in this theme will contribute to the design of the flood forecasting system to be developed in Theme 3 and help with the analysis of flood impacts in Theme 4.

THEME LEADER:
Professor Donald H. Burn (University of Waterloo)
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Email:  dhburn@uwaterloo.ca

CO-LEADER:
Professor Van-Thanh-Van Nguyen (McGill University)
Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics
Email:  van.tv.nguyen@mcgill.ca

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Theme 2

QUANTIFYING AND REDUCING THE PREDICTIVE UNCERTAINTY OF FLOODS – PROJECTS

Prediction and decision-making in aquatic environments requires a diversified approach to monitoring, modelling, and risk assessment. Theme 2 addresses the challenges associated with the reduction and quantification of predictive uncertainty in the management of water resources. To achieve this, the research will process uncertainty through a complete vertical chain of models and techniques exploiting operational meteorological ensemble forecasts, a sound hydrological ensemble prediction system, including a probabilistic streamflow assimilation scheme, and water resources management tools. This theme will contribute to the design of the Canadian flood forecasting system to be developed in Theme 3

THEME LEADER:

Professor François Anctil (Université Laval)
Department of Civil Engineering and Water Engineering
Email:  francois.anctil@gci.ulaval.ca

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Theme 3

DEVELOPMENT OF CANADIAN ADAPTIVE FLOOD FORECASTING AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM (CAFFEWS)

This theme aims to advance our knowledge on flood forecasting systems and enhance flood forecasting capacity in Canada, which is a key target of FloodNet. An enhanced flood forecasting system that can deliver accurate and reliable forecasts with an appropriate lead time is seriously needed for better flood mitigation in flood prone regions of Canada. In addition to its five projects, this theme will benefit from the outcomes of Themes 1 and 2 in the development of the Canadian adaptive flood forecasting and early warning system (CAFFEWS). CAFFEWS will also help in the analysis of flood impacts on water resources systems and the environment (Projects 4-1, 4-2, 4-3 of Theme 4).

THEME LEADER:
Professor Paulin Coulibaly (McMaster University)
Department of Civil Engineering and School of Geography and Earth Sciences
Email:  couliba@mcmaster.ca

CO-LEADER:
Professor Weihua Zhuang (University of Waterloo)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Email:  wzhuang@uwaterloo.ca

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Theme 4

RISK ANALYSIS OF PHYSICAL, SOCIO-ECONOMIC, AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF FLOODS – PROJECTS

The structural (or physical), environmental, and socio-economic effects of floods are complex and vary greatly depending on their location, duration, depth and speed, as well as the vulnerability of the affected natural (or constructed) area. Flooding is a significant natural hazard that can cause death, damage and loss to property and infrastructure, as well as public disruption. Indeed, floods can cause dangerous landslides, loss of crops and livestock, disruption of normal drainage systems, spillage of raw sewage and rapid flushing of chemicals, industrial and urban toxic materials and nutrients into waterways. However, flooding can also provide some ecosystem services and can bring some benefits that are often overlooked. Benefits include recharging groundwater, enhancing nutrient cycling, increasing fish production, creating wildlife habitat, refilling wetlands, rejuvenating soil fertility, and maintaining recreational areas. As our understanding of the benefits of environmental flooding and provision of ecosystem services improves, there is a need for more information on the environmental consequences of floods, and the balance between mitigating floods and preserving the water flows and levels required to conserve natural ecosystems and enhance environmental and human well-being (Poff et al. 2003). In particular, an improved understanding of the links between ecosystem services and floods is required as well a better understanding of flood effects on agricultural lands, and community water systems. In general, the physical impacts of floods and risk levels have been documented to a greater extent than the environmental and socio-economic aspects. This may explain why the environmental and socio-economic consequences of flooding are usually not incorporated in management policies or in flood impact estimation models. This theme will provide much needed information to improve our understanding of the social, economic and environmental effects of floods.

LEADER:
Professor Marguerite Xenopoulos (Trent University)
Department of Biology
Email:  mxenopoulos@trentu.ca

CO-LEADER:
Professor Amin Elshorbagy (University of Saskatchewan)
Department of Civil and Geological Engineering
Email:  amin.elshorbagy@usask.ca

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