Experts Test AIT’s Flood Risk Assessment System

Experts across the region work together to test flood risk assessment system
Image credit: AIT

Conventional flood risk assessments often focus only on climate change impacts and do not consider projected urban growth. 

Through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) SERVIR-Mekong grants program, in partnership with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) arranged a regional training workshop on “Scenario-Based Flood Risk Assessment in the Lower Mekong Region,” to estimate future flood exposure by combining scenarios for urban growth with flood models. The workshop convened representatives from academic institutions, governmental and development agencies from across the Lower Mekong to test the AIT-developed flood risk assessment system in collaboration with SERVIR-Mekong. The training provided an opportunity for key technical-agency officials and institutional stakeholders to discuss application of the tool in developing policies as well as integrating the findings into future plans, particularly related to improving flood resilience in cities. 

Alex Barrett, SERVIR-Mekong, outlines potential collaboration opportunities to the group.
Alex Barrett, SERVIR-Mekong, outlines potential collaboration opportunities to the group. (Image Credit: AIT)

At the training, Dr. Dai Yamazaki from the University of Tokyo introduced participants to the different flood modeling systems that are available, highlighting the trade-offs between rapidness and accuracy (real-time vs. planning). The participants later joined an exercise using Google Earth Engine that tested AIT’s Flood Modelling System. This system maps out where current and future built-up areas are found within the Bangkok Metropolitan Area (BMA). These maps are then overlaid with data to show where previous flooding occurred as well as where it is projected in the future. This allows decision makers to understand which parts of the BMA are at risk to flooding in the future. 

flood extent 2015
Predicted land-use and flood extents for 2025
Flood thailand
Extent of 2011 floods in Thailand as mapped out by AIT Flood Mapping Model and GISTDA

This training is part of SERVIR-Mekong’s grants program, which in addition to this skills based training also awards small grants to selected non-governmental organizations, universities and scientific institutes in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The focus of the small grants program is to explore geospatial technology to address environmental management and climate resilience in the Mekong Region. 

Find the beta version of the Flood Risk Assessment System AIT is developing under the grant here: . [A Google Earth Account will be necessary to use this link].