Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020GA116B

Development of a Storm Water Management Model for Assessing Compound Flooding Risk in Chatham County

Institute: Georgia
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $18,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $36,000

Principal Investigators: Jian Luo

Abstract: Chatham County is highly vulnerable to flood hazards, and has seen frequent flooding of infrastructures, roads and properties, which in turn threatens public safety. Due to the low elevation, relatively flat terrain, close proximity to the coast, high tides, and abundant rivers, creeks and streams surrounding and traversing the county, flood hazards in Chatham County include (1) coastal floods driven by high tides, storm surge and sea-level rise; (2) flash floods in localized areas as a result of intense and excessive precipitation and surface water runoff; and (3) riverine floods caused by the rise of water level. Due to more frequent extreme climate events and sea-level rise projected with climate change throughout the 21st century and beyond, such compound flood hazards must be considered for risk assessment, forecasting and mitigation plans for storm water management. Unfortunately, very few if any such studies exist for coastal regions of the southeast, leaving counties such as Chatham County acutely vulnerable to compound flood events. This project aims to generate new data and develop new models, tools and maps to assess compound coastal flooding risks for storm water management in Chatham County. Project products will take into account the most accurate and up-to-date data from both inland urban hydrology, hydraulics in storm water management systems (drainage, pipes, canals and rivers), tides and sea level rise, high-resolution digital data of urban development, and heavily leveraging a network of water level sensors recently installed across Chatham County. Eventually, we aim to generate up-to-date and forecasting flood maps that identify dynamic “hot spots†(e.g., pipelines, roads and areas) with the highest risks of flooding during heavy rainfall associated with hurricanes and tropical storms, and to highlight those components of the storm water management and infrastructures whose maintenance, repair, and/or upgrade are most critical to flood risk mitigation in Chatham County.