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University of Iowa opening a new flood research center

The new research center focuses on improving the ability to predict floods and measure potential damages.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa is opening a new research center that will focus on improving the ability to predict and manage water-related hazards such as flooding. 

Called the Center For Hydrologic Development, the university says this will help improve modern technology that is used to measure the potential damage from flooding. 

"Flooding is one of the world's worst disasters and causes the most damage compared to other disasters," Professor Ibrahim Demir said. "This research will lead to better flood maps and potentially giving you exact information where the water will be and if you need to take action”

Demir said 2017 saw nearly $300 billion in damages from flooding. In 2009, the Iowa Flood Center created the Iowa Flood Information System with the purpose to help prepare for a flood. 

“Homeowners can go onto the IFIS system and look up their exact home and learn how much water to expect, which helps you plan," said Riley Post, an Iowa Ph.D. student. "Iowa is very flood prone and we do a lot of research here that directly benefits the citizens of Iowa."

The team hopes to add features to IFIS, such as the ability to speak to AI to get information, making it more user-friendly. 

"It will help you to connect with these communities and understand the challenges to also take action together to potentially improve your conditions," Demir said.

"Giving people those tools, better prediction, better kind of user interface type tools that they can get online in the comfort of their own home and see what to expect. That makes a huge impact in people's lives" Post said.

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