Sherly M A, a research scholar with the IITB-Monash Research Academy, successfully defended her PhD viva on 15th September 2016. She is the 45th scholar to graduate from the Academy.
Sherly worked on developing a framework for urban flood risk mapping of the coastal megacity of Mumbai, India. Due to rising urban population worldwide and altered rainfall patterns caused by climate change, an increased number of people are vulnerable to the dangers of floods. Against this backdrop, flood risk maps gain importance as an essential tool for urban planning, infrastructure creation, disaster relief and recovery.
Working under the guidance of Prof. Subhankar Karmakar of IIT Bombay, Dr. Terence Chan and Dr. Christian Rau of Monash University, Sherly has created a framework that is more comprehensive than all those employed so far in studies on flood risk. Though it was a long journey, she has achieved all goals set initially that ensure high quality, with new contributions to technical as well as application aspects of the study.
Sherly’s method for creating a flood risk map involves two steps, each creating one component of the map. The first, a flood hazard map, is generated using flood modeling, taking into consideration the combined effect of rainfall and tide. The second, a flood vulnerability map, is generated by various urban relevant vulnerability themes, namely, socio-economic, infrastructure, and adaptive capacity. Thus, this work shows a complete framework of urban flood risk mapping, and the resultant maps can be updated every five years.
“Presenting all the aspects of the risk from floods within an integrated framework would be of immense use to decision makers. It will help them create land development plans, land zoning laws, emergency response strategies, disaster recovery, and infrastructure development” says Prof. Karmakar.
Asked about her motivation to research the subject in such depth, Sherly says, “Water is the source of all life, but it has the power to destroy as well. This paradox has drawn me to hydrology. I see it as a means to contribute, in my own humble way, towards ensuring that humanity is spared the destructive power of water”.
Sherly will be joining Mott-MacDonald in Mumbai as a ‘modeller’ in their Water Consultancy Division.
The Academy wishes her all the very best!