Developing a GIS based integrated approach to flood management in Trinidad, West Indies

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Ramlal, B & Baban, SMJ 2008, 'Developing a GIS based integrated approach to flood management in Trinidad, West Indies', Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 88, no. 4, pp. 1131-1140

The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2007.06.010


Trinidad and Tobago is plagued with a perennial flooding problem. The higher levels of rainfall in the wet season often lead to extensive flooding in the low-lying areas of the country. This has lead to significant damage to livestock, agricultural produce, homes and businesses particularly in the Caparo River Basin. Clearly, there is a need for developing flood mitigation and management strategies to manage flooding in the areas most affected. This paper utilizes geographic information systems to map the extent of the flooding, estimate soil loss due to erosion and estimate sediment loading in the rivers in the Caparo River Basin. In addition, the project required the development of a watershed management plan and a flood control plan. The results indicate that flooding was caused by several factors including clear cutting of vegetative cover, especially in areas of steep slopes that lead to sediment filled rivers and narrow waterways. Other factors include poor agricultural practices, and uncontrolled development in floodplains. Recommendations to manage floods in the Caparo River Basin have been provided.

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