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Disaster resilient Galveston: A multidisciplinary project on the design of sustainable measures to counteract coastal and pluvial flooding issues in Galveston

A multidisciplinary project on the design of sustainable measures to counteract coastal and pluvial flooding issues in Galveston

In collaboration with Texas A&M – Institute for a Disaster Resilient Texas. With funds from Delft Infrastructures & Mobility Initiative (DIMI).

By Vince Deelman, Max Verberne, Kjell Albers, Siebe van der Burg.

Teachers: Luca Iuorio, Davide Wüthrich.

Final Report

The report tackles Galveston’s flooding challenges, which are currently in development with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) ring barrier. However, the current design, predominantly addressing coastal flooding, falls short in dealing with pluvial flooding, relying heavily on pumps. This top-down approach neglects environmental and stakeholder considerations, resulting in a decoupled response to compound flooding, lacking adaptability, and overlooking the impact of chronic flooding on local businesses. The central research question revolves around reshaping the Galveston ring barrier in The Strand area for enhanced functionality against both coastal and pluvial flooding, sustainable management of catastrophic and chronic flooding, and improved public space value. The methodology consist of a literature review, fieldwork in ‘The Strand,’ stakeholder engagement in Texas, the design of multiple alternatives that deal with the issue at hand and evaluation through a Multi-Criteria Analysis. Two alternative designs, sensitive to identified issues, are presented for the Strand area. The outcome emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach incorporating the knowledge of the different academic backgrounds of the team, with designs adaptable for broader implementation in Galveston.
The design alternatives centres on measures to counteract flooding, specifically cloudburst roads, retention areas, and a promenade. Caution is advised in interpreting results, emphasizing the need for further investigation into hydraulic conditions. Climate change effects are underscored, considering sea level rise, precipitation rates, and increased hurricanes. The project area, focusing on a 1 km stretch, offers local adaptation measures, with potential extension to larger areas to explore system behaviour on a larger scale. The study notes the uncommon implementation of sustainable drainage systems in the United States,
highlighting the importance of addressing common failure causes such as incomplete knowledge and poor communication. While two measures for pluvial flooding are examined, the report suggests a more detailed design should consider additional factors like green roofs and their impact on runoff speed and drainage capacity.

© 2023 Vince Deelman, Max Verberne, Kjell Albers, Siebe van der Burg

“Disaster resilient Galveston: A multidisciplinary project on the design of sustainable measures to counteract coastal and pluvial flooding issues in Galveston” Final Report