Application of NASA EOS to Mexico City Flood Management

Location and relief of Mexico City created with ASTER data from the Terra satellite.

Location and relief of Mexico City created with ASTER data from the Terra satellite.

Team Location: Wise, Virginia; and Monterrey, Mexico

Authors: Pedro Rodríguez Rivera, Srinivas Sujith Kumar Balaram Mahanthi, Ryan O’Quinn, Bryant Counts, María Beldén, Juan Saénz

Science Advisors/Mentors: Dr. Kenton Ross, Dr. Dewayne Cecil, Dr. Vidal Garza Cantú, Dr. Aldo Iván Ramirez, Yanina Colon, Giovanni Colberg

Abstract: The metropolitan area of Mexico City, Mexico, is home to more than 21 million people. It is a densely populated urban area located in a valley surrounded by mountains with no natural exiting waterways. The aquifer which Mexico City rests upon is the main source of water for the city. Water is being pumped from the aquifer faster than the aquifer’s recharge rate causing the city to subside as the aquifer compacts and compresses. As this subsidence occurs it does so unevenly, causing the aging sewer and drainage system for urban runoff to collapse. Over the last century parts of Mexico City have sunk lower than lakes that reside in the city. Because of the subsidence of the city, the sewers no longer flow by gravity and waste has to be pumped out of the city. These factors make Mexico City very susceptible to flooding. Floods can, of course, be very damaging both physically and financially. This project used data from remote sensing technologies to show the areas in the most danger of flooding. Utilizing remote sensing, in situ data, and the CREST Model, analyses of elevation, slope, flow rate, land use/land cover, and population density were examined.

Video transcript available here.