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Geosciences 2018, 8(8), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8080275

Flood Risk Mapping Using GIS and Multi-Criteria Analysis: A Greater Toronto Area Case Study

1
Department of Civil Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
2
Geomatics Engineering, Department of Earth & Space Science & Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrology of Urban Catchments)
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Abstract

Given the increase in flood events in recent years, accurate flood risk assessment is an important component of flood mitigation in urban areas. This research aims to develop updated and accurate flood risk maps in the Don River Watershed within the Great Toronto Area (GTA). The risk maps use geographical information systems (GIS) and multi-criteria analysis along with the application of Analytical Hierarchy Process methods to define and quantify the optimal selection of weights for the criteria that contribute to flood risk. The flood hazard maps were generated for four scenarios, each with different criteria (S1, S2, S3, and S4). The base case scenario (S1) is the most accurate, since it takes into account the floodplain map developed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. It also considers distance to streams (DS), height above nearest drainage (HAND), slope (S), and the Curve Number (CN). S2 only considers DS, HAND, and CN, whereas S3 considers effective precipitation (EP), DS, HAND, and S. Lastly, S4 considers total precipitation (TP), DS, HAND, S, and CN. In addition to the flood hazard, the social and economic vulnerability was included to determine the total flood vulnerability in the watershed under three scenarios; the first one giving a higher importance to the social vulnerability, the second one giving equal importance to both social and economic vulnerability, and the third one giving more importance to the economic vulnerability. The results for each of the four flood scenarios show that the flood risk generated for S2 is the most similar to the base case (S1), followed by S3 and S4. The inclusion of social and economic vulnerability highlights the impacts of floods that are typically ignored in practice. It will allow watershed managers to make more informed decisions for flood mitigation and protection. The most important outcome of this research is that by only using the digital elevation model, the census data, the streams, land use, and soil type layers, it is possible to obtain a reliable flood risk map (S2) using a simplified method as compared to more complex flood risk methods that use hydraulic and hydrological models to generate flood hazard maps (as was the case for S1). View Full-Text
Keywords: flood risk; multi-criteria analysis; GIS modeling; analytical hierarchical process (AHP) flood risk; multi-criteria analysis; GIS modeling; analytical hierarchical process (AHP)
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Rincón, D.; Khan, U.T.; Armenakis, C. Flood Risk Mapping Using GIS and Multi-Criteria Analysis: A Greater Toronto Area Case Study. Geosciences 2018, 8, 275.

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