Integrated Urban Flood Management

Team Members:

  • Karabi Bezboruah: UTA Associate Professor, Public Affairs
  • Melanie Sattler: UTA Associate Professor, Civil Engineering

Title: Integrated Urban Flood Management

Shortages of drinking water, food, and housing; health risks from water-borne diseases; loss of life; and severe impacts on livelihoods – all can stem from a common cause: urban flooding. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from UTA, Cotton University, and Shiv Nader University (both in India) will pool their expertise to address this critical urban issue, via a $20,000 grant from CAPPA’s Water and Human Settlement Program.

The project’s goal is to build integrated, sustainable solutions to the problem of urban flooding, by drawing on multiple perspectives (public policy and administration, engineering, and geography), as well as input from local stakeholders. Researchers will examine the global issue of urban flooding through the lens of a particular case study, Guwahati, India.

Guwahati is the capital city of the state of Assam, and is the largest city with commercial, industrial, and educational benefits in northeastern India. The river Brahmaputra flows through the city and during the monsoon season, it flows above danger level, resulting in flooding of the low-lying areas of the city. The city has had a 128% population growth in the last seven years.

The causes of flooding in Guwahati include rapid population growth, rampant construction in floodplain areas, encroachment into floodplains by migrants to the city, large-scale deforestation, and lack of integrated water management policies and effective infrastructure planning. Researchers thus expect aspects of the multi-disciplinary solutions that emerge to be broadly applicable.

Associate Professor of Public Affairs, Karabi Bezboruah and Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, Melanie Sattler, will partner with researchers from India. They will collect information on best practices for integrated flood management and conduct focus groups. The groups will be with Guwahati government officials and community-based organizations to identify grassroots strategies for avoiding and mitigating flooding impacts. "We're so excited to have this opportunity to collaborate internationally to address a very critical issue," said Sattler. Model regulations for limiting floodplain development and examples of ways to identify flood-prone areas will be provided.

Lastly, the team will share the innovative water management policies and infrastructure planning practices they have discovered, via training workshops at Cotton University in India. Government officials, NGO executives, engineers, architects and real estate developers will be invited to attend the workshops.

“It’s a great opportunity to collaborate with eminent international researchers on the topic of urban flooding and to come up with grassroots solutions that will have significant social impact,” said Bezboruah “This grant provides the much-needed support for such interdisciplinary global initiatives.”

-- Map source from: CartoGIS Services, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University