UBC researchers are partnering with the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) to develop new policy and planning tools to address flooding in the Okanagan Valley.
Given recent flooding and its disastrous consequences on communities throughout the valley, this research project will help local governments make informed decisions to mitigate flood related risks.
“Communities like Kelowna are facing flooding on a regular basis, so creating models based on historical trends and future projections is vital for decision-makers,” explains Kh Md Nahiduzzaman, project manager and visiting professor at the School of Engineering.
According to Anna Warwick Sears, executive director of OBWB, these tools are needed by the region’s stakeholders. “Cities across the Okanagan are increasingly at risk of repeated flooding due to a variety of factors including the impacts of climate change.”
Sears points to the impact of flooding on neighborhoods from a social, financial and environmental perspective.
“What we need is a shift in focus from a flood protection approach to an adaptive resilience approach,” says Rehan Sadiq, the project’s principal investigator and civil engineering professor. The research will develop risk and vulnerability assessment tools, make future risk projections, review current decision-making tools and identify ways that multiple levels of government can work together seamlessly. Co-investigator and civil engineering professor, Kasun Hewage, will investigate risk mitigation actions and responses in holistic manner by considering the entire project life cycle.
The researchers are in talks with a number of regional stakeholders to participate in the project.