Cesar Camilo Canon Barriga

Research themes
  • Water resources (management)
  • Environmental and climate change
  • Mobility and migration
  • Health and sanitation
  • Growth, inequality and poverty
  • Economic change and vulnerability
  • Theories of Development
  • Development Politics
  • Microfinances
  • Environmental Impact Analysis
  • Urbanisation
  • Governance and conflict
Research countries
  • Colombia
  • USA
Thesis title

Reflecting Flood-risks beyond the Floodplain to enhance emergency response and land cover design 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, as a dike allowed the district to gain land from the floodplain. This new area, intended first for agricultural use only, ended up engaged mainly for housing, both legal and illegal. By 2016, 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 would inundate the populated lowlands of eastern Cali and also critical infrastructure along the Cauca river, such as the main water and wastewater treatment plants, electrical substations and pumping stations, potentially depleting drinking water, electrical power and drainage capacity, and triggering outbreaks of water-borne diseases in the whole city, not only in the floodplain area.

Moreover, one of the two access roads to the harbor of Buenaventura – the only one in the Colombian Pacific – passes through Cali and would reduce its capacity in case of flooding, compromising the emerging participation of the country in the Asia Pacific market.

This research seeks to help reduce flood-risks in the city of Cali, by calibrating a hydrodynamic model that extends flooding effects from Cauca River into the city drainage network. The economic losses due to rainfall events are indirectly estimated in the city. Results show the location of most vulnerable areas right after water storms take place, so citizens and emergency response agencies can prioritize actions in the short term, and urban designers may implement low impact development solutions in the long term.


Doctoral research funded by


Fiat Panis Foundation

Supervisors of
doctoral work

Prof. Dr. Janos Bogardi

Advisor at ZEF

Dr. Bernhard Tischbein


Anaya-Acevedo, J., J. Escobar-Martínez, H. Massone, G. Booman, O. Quiroz-Londoño, C. C. Cañón-Barriga, L.J. Montoya-Jaramillo and S. Palomino-Ángel.  2017.  Identification of wetland areas in the context of agricultural development using Remote Sensing and GIS.  DYNA, 84(201)   : 186-194   . (Open Access)   Further Information


Cesar Canon-Barriga, Juan Valdés, Hoshin Gupta.  2012.  Modeling the effect of irrigation practices in flash floods: a case study for the US Southwest.  Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 4   : 415-422   . (Open Access)   Further Information

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Cesar Camilo Canon Barriga

Junior Researcher

Private website:

Department :
ZEF C: Department of Ecology and Natural Resources Management

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