Integrating Novel Data Sources and High-Resolution Modeling for Urban Flood Protection

Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
4 pm on Thursday, October 14, 2021
Available via zoom and in person in * HARSHBARGER 110 * (no longer meets in Koffler Building)
Contact the department for details or to subscribe to the seminar email list
Margaret Garcia
Assistant Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University


Flooding is one of the most common and damaging natural hazards and the majority of flood risks are concentrated in cities. Flood risk varies at small spatial scales in cities where topography, infrastructure, and land use are highly heterogeneous. Predicting flooding at this scale is challenged by the lack of hydrological observations in urban areas. This lack of data limits real time sensing of flooding as it occurs and limits the utility of models, as they are typically uncalibrated. In this collaborative project, we have deployed a series of flood cameras and coordinated with transportation agencies to use existing traffic cameras to sense flooding in fixed locations and collected citizen science contributions to sense flooding opportunistically. Water depth estimates are then applied to calibrate a physically based hydrologic-hydraulic model. This model can then be used to estimate flooding in near real time, beyond our monitoring locations.


Image Margaret Garcia

Dr. Margaret Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University in Tempe. Dr. Garcia received her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tufts University in 2017. Her research investigates the factors influencing the sustainability and resilience of water systems and works on a range of water resources challenges such as urban flooding, regional water supply reliability, and multipurpose reservoir operations. At ASU, Dr. Garcia teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Hydrology, Socio-Hydrology, Uncertainty Analysis, and Infrastructure Systems. Prior to her time at ASU, Dr. Garcia has worked with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis through their Young Scientists Summer Program, in industry as a civil engineer for Arup in their infrastructure group and volunteered for Engineers Without Borders designing rural water supply systems in Honduras and Peru.