Bram Wennekes on Calgary internship

Bram Wennekes received an ACSN award in March, and has just completed the first two months of his internship. In this short report, Bram describes his first experiences.

"My name is Bram Wennekes, a Dutch MSc Hydrology student at Wageningen UR. To fulfill my internship I decided to go to Calgary and investigate the June 2013 flood of the Bow and Elbow River, as an extension/continuation of the research done by fellow students Jasper Candekl and Adriaan Bourgraaf in 2014. I am doing my research at the University of Calgary, with supervision both here and in the Netherlands (Wageningen UR and Deltares). The goal of my research is to see what the effects are of mitigation techniques on the sediment distribution in a river. I will be using Delft3D to (try to) model the sediment transport in the Bow River.

As a start I first did a literature review on flooding in cities across the world and how they dealt with flooding. In order to look for (new) mitigation techniques in Calgary, geomorphologically similar rivers/catchemnts are investigated, amongst others the Platte River (Nebraska, USA), Red River (North Dakota, USA), Manawatu catchment (North Island, New Zealand) and Fraser River (British Columbia, Canada). A distinction can be made between structural and non-structural measures. The first one includes: (hydropower) dams and reservoirs, dikes/levees, floodways (in combination with sluice gates or pumps), and gravel extraction. The latter one comprises, but is not limited to: buy-outs, legislation, and rate paying for protection. To elaborate a bit more on the non-structural measures, buy-outs are done by governmental bodies in order to get people out of the flood prone area. They get paid for leaving their place, but usual a high price is paid. Legislation is an important factor as well, in order to prohibit new building in flood prone areas. Decades ago, people were not aware of flooding and built there houses at spots along the river bank for a nice view. Nowadays regulations say that for instance all appliances have to be above a certain height and that new houses have to have their entrance above a certain height (which is depending on the height of a potential flood). Setting a value for the accepted change of flooding, can also be incorporated in legislation. Rate paying is applicated in New Zealand, in order to cover the costs for flood mitigation. People pay for their protection, depending on the likelihood they get flooded.

In upcoming research I will be working with the Delft3D model, to investigate the sediment movement in the Bow River and the influence of mitigation techniques on this transport."