Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Arturo S Leon

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Assefa Melesse

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Hector R. Fuentes

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Seung Jae Lee

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Dynamic Flood Mitigation, Deterministic Topographic Wetland Index, Flood Forecasting, Cypress Creek

Date of Defense



Floods have threatened people’s lives and property for all of human history. Consequently, developing and implementing effective flood mitigation strategies is a constant necessity to protect against the damage caused by floods. This dissertation proposes a dynamic water storage management strategy for flood mitigation at the watershed scale. This strategy aims to release water in a coordinated manner from water storage units before a rainfall event, leading to the entire watershed becoming more effective for flood mitigation.

Three main contributions were developed to achieve this strategy. First, a Deterministic Topographic Wetland Index (DTWI) was developed for rapidly identifying the existing wetland locations in the Cypress Creek watershed in Houston, Texas. Second, a spatially distributed HEC-HMS model was developed to simulate the rainfall-runoff process using rain-gauge-based interpolated precipitation datasets and the satellite-based PERSIANN family products. Third, the effectiveness of the proposed strategy for flood mitigation was evaluated by applying a coupled simulation-optimization framework to a watershed in Texas using existing and hypothetical wetlands.

The results show that (1) the proposed DTWI can provide higher accuracy (98.90%) on wetland delineation without performing supervised classification; (2) the bias-adjusted PERSIANN-CCS is found to be the best among the PERSIANN family products for near real-time flood forecasting; (3) based on the simulated flood inundation areas in the study watershed, the existing wetlands are not enough to mitigate floods; therefore, it is recommended to build artificial wetlands at the upstream and midstream sub-watersheds; and (4) based on an analysis of the different wetland implementation areas, the results show that only 5% of the wetland implementation areas can significantly decrease the flood inundation areas by 40% to 50% for the medium rainfall events; for extreme rainfall events, applying dynamic water storage management can delay the river stage peak time from 24 hours up to 60 hours, which provides a precious time window for early flooding warnings and preparedness.



Previously Published In

Bian, L., Melesse, A. M., Leon, A. S., Verma, V., and Yin, Z. (2021). “A Deterministic Topographic Wetland Index Based on LiDAR-Derived DEM for Delineating Open-Water Wetlands.” Water 2021, Vol. 13, Page 2487, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 13(18), 2487.



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