Non-structural Flood Mitigation Optimization at Community Scale: Middle Cedar Case Study

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Enes Yildirim, Yazeed Alabbad, Ibrahim Demir


Flooding is the leading natural hazard in Iowa and has resulted in billions of dollars of damage to properties and critical infrastructure over the past couple of decades. Land alterations, urbanization, and changing precipitation regimes increase the magnitude and frequency of flood events. Considering the increasing risk, flood mitigation efforts are significant to reduce future losses. In this study, we present a comprehensive flood mitigation assessment for the cities of Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo in Iowa, utilizing various datasets such as property information, flood inundation maps, mitigation costs, and depth-damage functions. The research revealed that flooding has a minimal impact on Waterloo below the 200-year return period flood scenario, but Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids are significantly vulnerable, requiring more mitigation investments and planning. The study conducted a benefit-cost analysis, indicating that dry floodproofing is the most feasible option to reduce flood impacts in all studied communities. Moreover, the research conducted a climate data-driven analysis, which found that elevating structures significantly increases the number of feasible mitigation options, regardless of various long-term climate projections. The study also analyzed predetermined mitigation budgets, revealing potential avoided losses and benefit-cost ratios for properties with the highest BCRs and prioritizing them to maximize the total benefit to the communities. The findings provide valuable insights for community decision-makers to prioritize flood mitigation measures based on the benefit-cost ratio. Overall, the study provides valuable insights and recommendations for decision-makers, contributing to the development of effective flood mitigation strategies to minimize the potential impact of flooding in the studied regions.



Civil and Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Risk Analysis


flood, mitigation, cost-benefit analysis, Optimization


Published: 2023-06-07 14:10


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International