Water Resources Research Report



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Natural disasters affect regions with different intensity and produce damages that vary in space. Topographical features of the region; location of properties that may be exposed to the peril; level of exposure; impact of different mitigation measures; are all variables with considerable spatial variability. A new method for evaluation of disaster impacts has been presented in this report that takes into consideration spatial variability of variables involved and associated uncertainty. Flood management has been used to illustrate the utility of proposed approach.

Floodplain management is a spatial problem. Representation of flood damage mitigation alternatives and objectives in space provides a better insight into the management problem and its characteristics. Protection of a region from floods can be achieved through various structural and non-structural measures. Comparison of different measures and evaluation of their impacts is based on the multiple criteria. If they are described spatially, decision-making problem can be conceptualized as spatial multi criteria decision-making (MCDM). Tkach and Simonovic (1997) introduced spatial Compromise Programming (SPC) technique to account for spatial variability in flood management.

Some of the criteria and preferences of the stakeholders involved with flood management are subject to uncertainty that may originate in the data, knowledge of the domain or our ability to adequately describe the decision problem. The main characteristic of flood management is the existence of objective and subjective uncertainty. Fuzzy set theory has been successfully used to address both, objective and subjective uncertainty. Bender and Simonovic (2000) incorporated vagueness and imprecision as sources of uncertainty into multi criteria decision-making in water resources.

In this report a new technique named Spatial Fuzzy Compromise Programming (SFCP) has been developed to enhance our ability to address the issues related to uncertainties in spatial environment. A general fuzzy compromise programming technique, when made 2 spatially distributed, proved to be a powerful and flexible addition to the list of techniques available for decision making where multiple criteria are used to judge multiple alternatives. All uncertain variables (subjective and objective) are modeled by way of fuzzy sets. In the present study, fuzzy measures have been introduced to spatial multi criteria decision-making in the GIS environment in order to account for uncertainties.

Through a case study of the Red River floodplain near the City of St. Adolphe in Manitoba, Canada, it has been illustrated that the new technique provides measurable improvement in flood management. Final results in the form of maps that shown spatial distribution of the impacts of mitigation measures on the region can be of great value to insurance industry.

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


London, Ontario, Canada


Water resources, Flood management, Disaster mitigation, Spatial compromise programming, Multi-criteria decision making, Spatial fuzzy multi objective analysis


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Report no.: 042

A Spatial Fuzzy Compromise Approach for Flood Disaster Management