Water Resources Research Report



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The web has become a major source of information for many water resources management tasks. With the growing popularity of the Internet, it provides a convenient, accessible way to provide the public with flood-related information. The present study focuses on web dissemination of information on flood risk and vulnerability to different types of users; general public, decision makers, and professionals. By gearing the display and representation of risk to each user, the information can be better understood and facilitate the flood management process. A user-friendly web-based flood information system is developed to provide flood risk, different components of flood vulnerability, exposures and hazards by postal codes. Geographic Information System (GIS) is used to facilitate the data processing, calculations and data management. It also provides spatial distribution of data, and the opportunity to ‘map’ vulnerability.

Vulnerability refers to the susceptibility of an area to damage. Vulnerability, as considered in this study includes physical, economic, infrastructural, and social components. By identifying the areas of high risk and vulnerability, it is possible to make more informed flood management decisions. The present study has introduced an infrastructural component of risk which addresses the vulnerability of roads, railways, road bridges and critical structures (hospitals, schools, fire stations, etc.). All components of vulnerability are standardized and represented using a value between zero and one. The overall vulnerability for different postal code regions is determined by ‘averaging’ all components of vulnerability.

The developed methodology for determining different components of vulnerability and risk is demonstrated for six major damage centers (i.e., London, St. Marys, Ingersoll, Mitchell, Stratford and Woodstock) in the Upper Thames River basin, Ontario, Canada. The relevant data are collected from Statistics Canada, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, Canadian Homebuyers Guide, and the GIS databases at The University of Western Ontario.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario


London, Ontario, Canada


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Report no.: 056

A Web-based Flood Informat ion System