Flood Management in the Grand River Watershed

Lyndia Stacey, Filzah Nasir and Andre Unger
Case revision date: 
The Grand River is located in southwestern Ontario; it stretches 280 km from its source in Wareham, Ontario to where it empties into the north shore of Lake Erie. The land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural but with some urban development, including the municipalities of Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge and Brantford. Flooding from the Grand River has a long standing history and continues to affect cities today. A reservoir network was built starting in 1942 to reduce issues from spring melt and high levels of precipitation which has been effective in reducing flood peaks by 50% or more. However, due to the large and continuous changes to the landscape such as paving over extensive areas, cutting down trees and draining wetlands, flooding continues to be a problem. One area that has had multiple floods and flood warnings is Water Street (Highway 24), located right next to the Grand River in Cambridge, Figure 1. Roads, walking trails and bridges in this area have been closed due to flooding as recently as April 2014. Dike systems were built to reduce the risk of flooding but there is always a need for improvement.
Gus Rungis, a Senior Water Resources Engineer at the Grand River Conservation Authority, suggested that an extension to the dikes near Water Street could provide a feasible solution to the flooding issues in Cambridge.
Learning objectives: 

The main learning objective of this case study is to get students to apply design principles of earth engineering, such as hydraulic conductivity, seepage, flow nets and water pressure to an engineering design. In this case, the students are asked to design an earth dike for flood management purposes.

Key words: 
Earth dike, Flood management, Hydraulic conductivity, Total and effective stress, Seepage, Costs analysis
CEAB attributes: 
Problem Analysis; Design; Use of Engineering Tools
Module 01 - Case Study
Module 02 - Case Assignment

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