From October 1st to 5th, 2023, the international conference titled ‘Closed cycles and the Circular Society 2023: The power of ecological engineering’ was held by the International Ecological Engineering Society (IEES). The event was organized by the Environmental Engineering and Management Laboratory of the Technical University of Crete.
In this prestigious conference, Dr. Liviana Sciuto presented a study titled ‘Nature-Based Solutions for flooding risk mitigation in an urban area: The case study of Catania (Sicily, Italy)’ realized in collaboration with experts and professionals from various disciplinary fields and lecturers from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Feliciana Licciardello, Emanuela Rita Giuffrida, Salvatore Barresi, Vincenzo Scavera, Luca Buscemi, Danilo Verde, Salvatore Barbagallo, Giuseppe Cirelli). The presentation addressed challenges and strategies related to runoff management in an urban setting, particularly concerning short but intense events, which are becoming increasingly frequent due to climate change and urbanization, with significant economic losses and threats to the population. The speech emphasized the importance of adopting adaptation and mitigation measures to minimize potential damages related to risk receptors, such as human health, the environment, cultural heritage, economic activity, and infrastructure. Specifically, the speech focused on the case study of the Garibaldi-Nesima watershed, which is part of the larger Acquicella Stream basin and extends within the Metropolitan Area of Catania (Sicily, Italy). The study area was chosen because it has been subject in recent decades to short but intense storm events, straining the traditional drainage system and consequently causing damage to the Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital and the numerous commercial activities in the area.
The study identified the hydraulic risk areas (using HEC-RAS software), used for the subsequent implementation of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) (green roofs, rain gardens, porous pavements, and rainwater harvesting cisterns) and evaluation of their mitigation effects on hydraulic risk in terms of peak flow and runoff volume reduction (through EPA SWMM software). The HEC-RAS model was tested using available web images from traffic security cameras and citizens’ cell phones, due to the lack of observed data (hydrographic stations) in the study basin. This research was conducted within the framework of the GIFLUID project, which explores innovative strategies and solutions for water management and hydraulic risk mitigation, with a particular focus on ‘Nature-Based Solutions’ (NBS) and green infrastructures.