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Addressing Pluvial Flash Flooding through Community-Based Collaborative Research in Tijuana, Mexico

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Pluvial flash flooding (PFF) is a growing hazard facing cities around the world as a result of rapid urbanization and more intense precipitation from global warming, particularly for low-resourced settings in developing countries. We present collaborative modeling (CM) as an iterative process to meet diverse decision-making needs related to PFF through the co-production of flood hazard models and maps. CM resulted in a set of flood hazard maps accessible through an online viewer that end-users found useful and useable for understanding PFF threats, including debris blockages and barriers to mobility and evacuation. End-users of information included individuals concerned with general flood awareness and preparedness, and involved in infrastructure and emergency management, planning, and policy. CM also showed that rain-on-grid hydrodynamic modeling is needed to depict PFF threats in ways that are intuitive to end-users. These outcomes evidence the importance and transferability of public health rationale for community-based research and principles used here including recognizing community as a unit of identity, building on strengths of the community, and integrating knowledge for the benefit of all partners.

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