February 25-28, 2020
Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
The Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) and the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GADRI) of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University, initiated an international symposium on WFFs and established research activities with various MENA countries, including Egypt, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. At Kyoto University, we organized the 1st International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems (ISFF), from 14-15 October 2015, to investigate flash flood disasters, to implement new research methodologies, and to emphasize transdisciplinary approaches in this ever more important field of research. The goal of the event was to bring together experts from governments, universities, and companies in the flash flood field from Japan, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Europe to provide a platform to present the current areas of investigation, especially in the fields of atmospheric and water-related disaster and integrated disaster risk management, to encourage the formation of joint research cooperation programmes. The event was organized and hosted by the WRRC and jointly sponsored by the GADRI.
After the first ISFF, we initiated the ISFF project, which focuses on the existing gaps for flash flood case studies from 6 Arabian countries, to ensure an integrated strategy and water resource management for wadi systems in the Arabian region. The topic of flash floods was investigated from several aspects, including hard structural and soft non-structural measures, issues of floodwater harvesting, guidelines, hydrological modelling and warning systems. Based on our discussion during the 1st ISFF, we drew 5 years of roadmaps for the ISFF project, and we found substantial efforts by governments in the MENA region to enhance WFF monitoring, modelling, mitigation structures and warning systems. However, gaps remain that need a new paradigm shift considering comprehensive strategies, mitigation and water resource management. We need to conduct more research and establish guidelines/manuals for assessment, mitigation and utilization of floodwater. Later, based on the success of the 1st ISFF, Kyoto University initiated an ISFF series that focused on DRR by discussing current mitigation measures for WFF and water harvesting.
We organized a training course to help participants from Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Yemen within the framework of the UNESCO Japanese Fund-In-Trust (JFIT) project titled “Urgent Capacity Development for Managing Natural Disaster Risks of Flash Floods in Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Yemen”, to predict and implement warning systems and hazard mapping for target wadis in each country. The course supported participants in developing flash flood prediction and management scenarios by using the integrated flood analysis system (IFAS) and rainfall‐runoff‐inundation (RRI) model as well as GIS and remote sensing (RS) methods introduced by the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), Japan. Participants from the four countries were introduced to various aspects of hydrological modelling, flood hazard mapping and integrated management of flash floods. The training was designed to increase the audience’s awareness of the WFF risk mapping, leading to better performance in flood risk reduction in the targeted wadi areas. The major objective of this training was to introduce numerical models developed from ICHARM to assess future WFF risk, potential water harvesting, challenges in making decisions during early warning, and structural mitigation measures. Then, an annual series of ISFF projects was initiated, and the 2nd ISFF was hosted by the TUB-El Gouna campus in Egypt and focused on case studies, the UNESCO project, water harvesting, and social aspects. In 2017, the 3rd ISFF in Oman was organized at GUTech in Muscat, focusing on risk assessment, management, hazard mitigation, etc. In 2018, the 4th ISFF was hosted by Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco. The 5th ISFF will be held in Kyoto in 2020.
The main objective of ISFF symposium is to create an international platform from the scientist, engineers, researchers, stakeholders and decision makers, to overcome the challenges of wadi system in arid regions. In addition to come up with new and effective approaches and scientific and engineering solutions for the disaster risk reduction of wadi flash floods.