Quantification of flooding for stormwater infrastructure planning in Pouch Cove, NL with communal model calibration

Abena O. Amponsah, Joseph Daraio and Brian Peach


Climate change is projected to increase the frequency and magnitude of extreme precipitation events, impacting infrastructure assets, increasing erosion rates and rising sea levels. The Town of Pouch Cove is a small coastal community in Newfoundland and Labrador, and its existing stormwater management system has been identified as a public safety vulnerability. Climate change will increase its vulnerability and risk to the impacts of extreme events. The PIEVC Protocol was developed to incorporate climate change into resilient infrastructure planning and design process. However, small communities like Pouch Cove have limited resources. They cannot engage the level of modelling expertise and detailed analysis for the type analysis proscribed by the Protocol. New standards need to be developed to allow for the complete inclusion of potential climate change impacts.  This study aims to incorporate science-based quantitative knowledge and qualitative local knowledge into an integrative decision-support protocol or standard for the planning and design of sustainable and resilient stormwater infrastructure.  A 1D-2D PC-SWMM watershed model that includes existing natural and built infrastructure is used to assess the vulnerability of the Town’s stormwater drainage system. Scenario analysis of projected precipitation, land-use change and culvert blockages are conducted to locate vulnerable sectors and implement potential adaptation strategies to reduce risks of climate change impacts on infrastructure and flooding. Model calibration used a combination of basin transfer and collective local knowledge. Results highlighted locations of concern and indicate that using nature-based solutions in place of piped systems could serve as a more resilient strategy to address flooding vulnerabilities.   

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