PERFECT STORM

3B ArcGIS Research Elective w Mona ElKafif, Sept-Dec 2016



 

    On July 8, 2013, about 9 billion litres of water fell on Toronto, and caused over 3800 basement floods city wide and billions in property damage. Such catastrophic storms have and will become more frequent as climate changes, and mitigation requires careful research and design.

    To understand these catastrophes, both the natural and man-made inputs must be studied. Storm events produce extreme volumes of water and put enormous short-term pressure on storm water infrastructure, forcing overflow to be bypassed into natural water bodies and watersheds. Because of Downtown Toronto’s archaic combined sewer system,  many bypasses include raw sewage, which is dumped directly into Lake Ontario. This causes widespread ecological and health concerns and decreases the lake’s ability to filter out toxic chemicals. 

    This project uses GIS (Geogrpahic Information Systems) to show how weak points of Toronto’s storm and sewer systems converge to create the conditions for the “perfect storm” of flood conditions. The problem Toronto is facing is caused by confluence of many features that can be mapped, including topography, control features, insufficient plant capacity, high population density, and high impermeable ground area.

    Our project is inspired by the growing acknowledgment both in the press and in academia, that flooding is becoming a primary concern for landscape architects, urban planners, and architects, whom can minimize the impact of flooding through design. Through research we identify our problem, identify the site of greatest concern, explore control options, and propose a design solution.