Watershed Studies

Civica’s Watershed Studies: a prerequisite for responsible environmental management


Civica has undertaken various studies to evaluate the flooding potential along open channels and waterways. As a key component of these studies, modeling tools have been used to provide floodplain mapping and also as the basis for recommendations for flood mitigation strategies.

Our trained field technicians completely assess the natural environment including aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Detailed geodetic survey of channel and surrounding areas, and, existing conditions are modelled using Civica’s own state-of-the-art VO4 and VHSWMM modeling software tools. Then, integrated models are analyzed with GIS tools to identify addresses of flood-prone buildings, flood depth and areal extent of flooding, and, roads and buildings susceptible to flooding.

Once the potential flooding areas have been identified, simulated and evaluated flood mitigation alternatives such as permeable pavement, sub-surface storage, soak-away pits, and hydraulic structure of flood-prone buildings are studied. In addition, Civica also provides recommended optimal flood mitigation strategies based on detailed evaluation criteria.


Watershed and subwatershed planning starts with a scientific study of the area’s soils, geology, surface and ground water, plants and wildlife. It also looks at how the land is used for housing, agriculture, recreation and other purposes. The study then undertakes an integrated assessment of the existing condition and health of the natural resources within the watershed. This assessment identifies sensitive natural features such as woodlands, wetlands and watercourses, sources of environmental stress, and opportunities to enhance the environment. It sets goals that address these issues and recommends actions for landowners, the Municipality, the Conservation Authority and other interested groups to help achieve these goals.

Typical recommendations include setbacks from water bodies, stormwater management requirements, protection of significant natural features and habitat linkages, and opportunities to rehabilitate degraded areas or otherwise enhance the environment.

In some cases, the need for more detailed studies such as environmental management plans or environmental impact statements is identified for specific areas or sites of future development. Watershed and subwatershed plans attempt to balance environmental protection, conservation and restoration with development and land-use practices to ensure the long-term health of the watershed. They are as important in the urban area as they are in the rural area. The success of the plan depends on the support of many stakeholder agencies, landowners, the Municipality and the general public.

Civica uses VO4, our own hydrologic modelling software that has been widely accepted by both municipalities and engineering contractors, to establish rural and urban catchment routines to simulate both rural and urban hydrology. Our unmatched expertise in watershed hydrologic modelling can help municipalities to assess and update the stormwater management criteria as well as the impact of Regional Storm flows on proposed future urban development. Moreover, the establishment of flood (quantity) control criteria based on watershed modellings can be implemented in future land use planning.


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