Professor Venkatesh Merwade receives Outstanding Achievement Award from Indiana Water Resources Association
Professor Venkatesh Merwade received the 2018 Indiana Water Resources Association (IWRA) Outstanding Achievement Award in academic sector at its annual symposium in Bloomington, Indiana on June 27, 2018. The IWRA award recognizes individuals who have made significant contribution to the Indiana Water Resources Community through research and technical advances, information dissemination and education.
Professor Merwade was recognized for his work in improving the flood prediction and mapping capabilities for Indiana rivers. Specifically, he has developed low cost floodplain mapping techniques including large scale publicly available soil and topographic data. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) creates 100-year flood inundation maps for the nation, these maps do not include many rural and low order streams, which are also prone to flooding. His work on floodplain mapping using the SSURGO soil data created a floodplain map for all streams in Indiana. Besides these static maps, Professor Merwade has developed innovative tools and applications that are expected to provide near real-time flood information for all streams in Indiana.
Professor Merwade's work has enabled dissemination of critical information such as floodplain maps and streamflow data for many Indiana streams by using public domain datasets and computational tools. His SSURGO based maps have been used by IUPUI's POLIS center for some of their workshops on flood mitigation, and is downloaded by many floodplain managers in Indiana. Considering the increasing threat of more frequent and higher magnitude floods, his tools related to near real-time flood information and inundation for streams in Indiana will play a critical role in preparing mitigation plans and rescue operations. These tools could also be used to investigate the role of future developments and/or sustainability measures on flood risk in many Indiana communities.