Worcester Flood Watch: Community Science Project for Climate Resiliency

Urban Street Flooded with Cars in Background Stalled

Join the Flood Watch this summer and fall by monitoring flooding with photos, videos, and field notes to help prioritize improvements to the City's stormwater system!


What will the Volunteers Do?

The volunteers will gather data during and immediately following intense rain events and longer duration rain events in the summer and fall of 2023 to map the flooded areas of the City. To participate:

  • Fill out the Participation Registration Form.
  • Activate geolocation on your phone.
  • Take pictures and/or videos during and/or after the storm, where you see street flooding and try to capture the full extent of it (where it begins and ends).
  • Upload via a link sent to you after you register.
    • Label data with date, time and location and attach to GPS location.
    • Capture and track any other field notes.
    • Upload the gathered data to our data portal.
  • Repeat for each severe storm causing flooding that you are available for!

To become a community scientist volunteer for the Flood Watch project volunteer, please review the project documents and video linked above (to learn how to gather flood data) and fill out the Participation Registration Form. We thank you!

Background: Drainage and Green Infrastructure Master Plan Development

The City is creating a Stormwater System and Green Infrastructure Master Plan which will help the City prioritize citywide drainage infrastructure improvements. The City of Worcester was awarded a 2022-2024 Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Plan (MVP) Action Grant to help develop it. The project's goals are:

  • To develop a comprehensive understanding of the municipal drainage system and its constraints.
  • To identify the City's most vulnerable areas using an infrastructure and social resilience framework.
  • To prioritize actions that advance flooding resiliency with a focus on a hybrid approach of nature-based solutions and grey infrastructure enhancements.
Diagram Showing Underground Stormwater and Sewer Pipe Systems
Weston & Sampson Consultants Working at Manhole in City Street

The City hired a consultant (Weston & Sampson) to:

  • Improve accuracy of the City's stormwater system GIS (mapped) data (drain manhole inspections).
  • Conduct modeling of the stormwater system during high intensity short duration and low intensity long duration rain events currently.
  • Use the model to predict flooding under projected 2070 flood conditions.
  • Identify flood prone areas and develop alternative analyses to address flooding considering grey and green infrastructure solutions.

Why Focus on Urban Flooding?

Climate Change is exacerbating flooding in Worcester due to more frequent and intense rainstorms and increase in total annual rainfall. The future flooding in the City will affect even more areas if we don't make changes to our stormwater system and how we build and manage our urban spaces.

Have a Question?

Contact Information

Sustainability & Resilience
City Hall Room 108
455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

Accessible via WRTA Bus Line. View Schedules

Phone: 508-799-8325
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Office Hours:
By Appointment: Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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City of Worcester
Worcester 311
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Phone: 311
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