Cesar Camilo Canon Barriga

Research themes
  • Governance
  • Water resources
  • Environmental and climate change
  • Social and cultural change and adaption
  • Economic change and vulnerability
Research countries
  • Colombia
Research topic
Flood Risk Management
Thesis title

Technical and Social Adaptation to Floods and Risk Mitigation in Urban Areas: A Case in Cali, Colombia

Thesis abstract

Cali is the third most populated city in Colombia and the pole of development of its Pacific region. Originally founded near the western Andean range in the XVI century, Cali experienced a sudden expansion towards the Cauca River from the 1950s, due to the construction of a dike that allowed the district to gain land that once belonged to the floodplain. This new land, intended first for agricultural use only, ended up engaged mainly for housing, both legal and illegal. By 2015, more than 800 000 people were living in the floodplain area and 40 000 were on top of the dike itself.

A breach in the dike during the rainy season not only would inundate the populated lowlands of eastern Cali, but also the main water and wastewater treatment plants that lie just across the river, depleting the services of drinking water supply and drainage in the whole city. In addition to this, the connectivity to the harbor of Buenaventura, the only one in the Colombian Pacific, would be halted and would compromise the already fragile participation of the country in the Asia Pacific market.

The objectives of this research are:

• To set a dynamic model of the flood extent, and of the response of the drainage network and the water supply system in Cali for different flood scenarios of the Cauca River and for different land use and protective infrastructure scenarios.


• To estimate the economic losses and outline the best practices not only to reduce them, but also to search for social, economic and environmental welfare.


• To propose protocols that improve the cooperation of regional entities towards flood risk management for the city of Cali, justified by the results of the model and by the historic observations of the causes of uncontrolled urban development there.


Doctoral research funded by


Fiat Panis Foundation

Supervisors of
doctoral work

Prof. Dr. Janos Bogardi

Advisor at ZEF

Dr. Bernhard Tischbein

There are no publications of this person.

Cesar Camilo Canon Barriga

Junior Researcher

camicase7(at)gmail.com, cbarriga(at)uni-bonn.de

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