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DSD-INT 2020 Beyond the Forecast - Communicating Flood - Risk in the Toronto Region - Rajabali


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Presentation by Rehana Rajabali, Toronto and Region Conservation Authorities, at the Delft-FEWS International User Days 2020, during Delft Software Days - Edition 2020. Monday, 9 November 2020.

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DSD-INT 2020 Beyond the Forecast - Communicating Flood - Risk in the Toronto Region - Rajabali

  1. 1. Beyond the Forecast: Communicating Flood Risk in the Toronto Region Rehana Rajabali, P.Eng, MUDS Associate Director, Engineering Services Toronto and Region Conservation Authority FEWS User Days – November 2020
  2. 2. Presentation Outline • Conservation Authorities and integrated flood risk management • The differences between risk communication and crisis communication • Where forecasting and FEWS fit in • Priming audiences to make crisis communication effective Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 2 The information contained in this presentation is copyright © Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
  3. 3. Conservation Authorities(CAs) arelocal watershed management agencies in Ontario, Canada Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 3
  4. 4. 4 Integrated Flood Risk Management Toronto andRegion Conservation Authority
  5. 5. Prevention and Mitigation • Floodplain mapping and the engineering studies that support it • Hydrology • Hydraulics • Flood Risk Assessment • Land Use Management • Stormwater Management • Land-Use and Development Regulation • Flood Control Infrastructure • e.g. G. Ross Lord Dam • Capital works for flood protection • e.g. Port Lands Flood Protection Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 5
  6. 6. 6 Our highly urbanized watersheds
  7. 7. Preparedness • Emergency ManagementPlanning • Flood ContingencyPlan • Municipal emergency plans • IMS structure • Training • Flood Duty Officer training • IMS training • Partnership with municipalities • Public Education • Emergency Preparedness Week • Flood preparednesscurriculum partnershipwith Education • Flood Risk Outreach Strategy • Floodplaininformation on the web Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 7
  8. 8. Flood Response ConservationAuthorities - Monitor watershed and weather conditions and operatea flood forecasting andwarning system - Issue Flood Messages - Operate Conservation Authority dams and flood controlstructures - Providetechnical advice to municipalities - Maintain communications with municipalities and other agencies Municipalities - Notify appropriatemunicipal officials, departments and agencies. - Determine the appropriateresponseand deploy municipal resources to protectlife and property. - If required, declare afloodemergency and implement their emergency responseplan. - Request provincial assistance if needed Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 8
  9. 9. Recovery • Impact Tracking • Post-event analysis • Data collection • Lessons learned 9
  10. 10. Where FEWS/Decision Support Systems come in 10 Inputs •Currentstreamflow / WL / SWE •Received Precipitation •Forecast Precipitation •Radar •Forecast Temperature •Thunderstorm parameters Decision Support System •Brings together the inputs •Supports the analysis and the decision •Documents the decisions Outcomes •Is therea threat of flooding? •What level messagedo we issue? •What info do we need to provide to municipal partners? •Dam operations (TRCA only has two dams and they are exclusively for flood control(reservoirsare empty until filled by a storm) Toronto andRegion Conservation Authority
  11. 11. Distilling data into key messages 11 Inputs Decision Support System Outputs Toronto andRegion Conservation Authority
  12. 12. TRCA Flood Message Types Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 12 High flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists,hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected. Early notice of the potential forflooding based on weather forecastscalling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion. Flooding is possible inspecific watercoursesor municipalities. Municipalities, emergencyservices and individual landowners in flood- prone areas should prepare. Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specificwatercourses or municipalities. A notice that critical high Lake Ontario levels and/or waves are imminent and/or occurring, which could result in shoreline flooding and/or erosion
  13. 13. We can’t change the weather, but we continue to work towards reducing the threat to public safety 13 Forecasting toolsand systems reduce this delay time Figure adaptedfrom D. Mileti - A Guide toPublic Alerts and Warnings for Dam and Levee Emergencies, US ArmyCorps of Engineers Priming audiences and emergency planning reduce these delaytimes
  14. 14. Risk Communication vs Crisis Communication* Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 14 Crisis communication Crisis Communication Risk Communication *I first came across the conceptof applying Bloom’s Taxonomyto risk communication in a presentation by Ronda Oberlin, City of Lansing, MI
  15. 15. Many people inhabiting flood-prone communities are not fully aware of the risks to themselves and their property. Thistlethwaite et. al., 2017
  16. 16. …but we have many touchpoints with these audiences
  17. 17. Flood Risk Outreach Program and Site- Specific Flood Response Plans • Priming our municipal partner emergency management officials • Priming members of the public who live in flood vulnerable areas Toronto andRegion Conservation Authority 17
  18. 18. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 18 Risk communication takes many forms
  19. 19. 19 19 Advertisements
  20. 20. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 20 Advertisements Geotargeted Social Media Campaigns
  21. 21. Public OpenHouses
  22. 22. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 22 Digital flood handbooks
  23. 23. For our first responders, a map is better than a hydrograph, and a list of addresses is even better
  24. 24. Many audiences want a binary answer, some can cope with uncertainty Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 24
  25. 25. 10 scenarios reduced to three zones – precision will be lost in favour of simplicity
  26. 26. For the sophisticated user, share the data, exchange the data Toronto andRegion Conservation Authority 26
  27. 27. Parting thoughts – what we are working on now.. • Warning messages and pro-active communication with audiences should reference a shared vocabulary/understanding – has that been established? • Consider the outputs you need for your (various) flood warning audiences to include in your decision support system (FEWS) workflows • While warning messages may be one- directional, how can public feedback be incorporated into situational awareness tools? Toronto and Region Conservation Authority 27
  28. 28. Thank you! Questions?