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Computational Modelling and Analysis

Computational modelling and analysis

Computational modelling and analysis

Computational modelling and analysis

Please see below for some of our research projects related to computational modelling and analysis.

Current Projects

The aqua3S project aims to create strategies and methods that will enable water facilities to easily integrate solutions regarding water safety, through a combination of novel technologies in water safety and the standardisation of existing sensor technologies.

Exposure of citizens to potential disasters has led to vulnerable societies that require risk reduction measures. Drinking water is one of the main risk sources when its safety and security are not ensured.

aqua3S combines novel technologies in water safety and security, aiming to standardize existing sensor technologies complemented by state-of-the-art detection mechanisms. aqua3S can propose innovative solutions to water facilities and responsible authorities in order to detect and tackle water-related crises in a timely manner.

On the one hand, sensor networks are deployed in water supply networks and sources, supported by complex sensors for enhanced detection; on the other hand, sensor measurements are supported by videos from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), satellite images and social media observations from citizens that report low-quality water in their area (e.g. by colorization); introducing this way a bottom-up approach which raises social awareness and, also, promotes interactive knowledge sharing.

The proposed technical solution is designed to offer a very effective detection system, taking into account the cost of the aqua3S platform and target at a very high return-on-investment ratio.

The main strategy for the integration of aqua3S’ solution into the market is designed on the standardization of the proposed technologies and the project’s secure platform.

Visit the aqua3s website for further information.

The aim of this fellowship is to develop novel technologies to facilitate the delivery of smart and resilient water systems.

The aim is to develop analytical tools to analyse big data from smart sensors at household and system levels, so as to identify vulnerabilities and inform infrastructure planning, design, operation and management decisions and thus improve resilience.

The aim of this project is to develop a digital twin for water pipe systems to predict performance of the pipe network.

FIWARE is a smart solution platform, funded by the European Commission (2011-16) as a major flagship PPP, to support SMEs and developers in creating the next generation of internet services, as the main ecosystem for Smart City initiatives for cross-domain data exchange/cooperation and for the NGI initiative. So far little progress has been made on developing specific water-related applications using FIWARE, due to fragmentation of the water sector, restrained by licensed platforms and lagging behind other sectors (e.g. telecommunications) regarding interoperability, standardisation, cross-domain cooperation and data exchange.

Fiware4Water intends to link the water sector to FIWARE by demonstrating its capabilities and the potential of its interoperable and standardised interfaces for both water sector end-users (cities, water utilities, water authorities, citizens and consumers), and solution providers (private utilities, SMEs, developers). Specifically we will demonstrate it is non-intrusive and integrates well with legacy systems. In addition to building modular applications using FIWARE and open API architecture for the real time management of water systems, Fiware4Water also builds upon distributed intelligence and low level analytics (smart meters, advanced water quality sensors) to increase the economic (improved performance) and societal (interaction with the users, con-consensus) efficiency of water systems and social acceptability of digital water, by adopting a 2-Tier approach:

  • Building and demonstrating four Demo Cases as complementary and exemplary paradigms across the water value chain (Tier#1);
  • Promoting an EU and global network of followers, for digital water and FIWARE (cities, municipalities, water authorities, citizens, SMEs, developers) with three complementary Demo Networks (Tier#2).

The scope is to create the Fiware4Water ecosystem, demonstrating its technical, social and business innovative potential at a global level, boosting innovation for water.

Why Fiware4Water?

The prerequisite of Fiware4Water is to lever the barriers of the water digital sector that is facing a low level of maturity in the integration and standardization of ICT solutions, in the business processes of these solutions and relative implementation of legislative framework, as described by the ICT4Water cluster.

The related needs are how to exploit the value of data for the water sector, how to develop and test robust and cyber-secured systems, how to create water-smart solutions and applications how to ensure interoperability and higher information capacity and how to design tailored solutions addressing a real need such as optimisation, prediction, diagnosis, real-time monitoring.

For further information, please visit the Fiware4Water website.

GeoRes will develop protocols to improve the engineering characteristics of waste geomaterials, and to guarantee the level of performance over the service life of geostructures built from waste geomaterials considering site-specific conditions (climate, water table, leaching, weathering, hazardous compounds, etc.).

GeoRes aims to expand the scope of the involved teams’ research in addressing some of the outstanding challenges in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering: developing innovative solutions for the reuse of waste geomaterials generated by construction and mining industries across Europe and worldwide.

Find out more on the dedicated GeoRes webpage.

The aim of this Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is to develop and embed a toolset utilising Bayesian Optimisation and CFD techniques in order to enable optimisation of product function and manufacturability, and accelerate the product development process.

This is the latest part of a long term collaboration between the University of Exeter (Prof Gavin Tabor, Prof Jonathan Fieldsend) and Hydro International Ltd, developing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Machine Learning techniques for SUDs product design. Hydro International provides products and services in the water treatment and drainage sectors including wastewater, storm water and industrial water treatment products, and flow controls for urban drainage systems. The objective of the project is to use Bayesian Optimisation to optimise the separation of particulate waste from water using a cyclone separator very similar in function to a Dyson vacuum cleaner, but for water rather than air. The aim is for the computer to "learn" better designs for the separator trays which are at the heart of the system, providing key new IP for the company as well as a design tool which can be applied to other products in their range.


With focus on co-development between EU and India ensuring exploitability of its outcomes, LOTUS brings a new ICT solution for India’s water and sanitation challenges in both rural and urban areas.

High-level objectives:

  1. To co-design and co-produce, jointly with EU and Indian partners, an innovative multi-parameters chemical sensor as an advanced solution for water quality monitoring in India. It shall use advanced technologies (carbon nanotubes) capable of monitoring in real time multiple contaminants and adaptable to diversified use cases in India;
  2. To develop a suite of tailor-made software tools, combined into a platform with cloud-based implementation. By integrating LOTUS new sensors to advanced ICT technologies, it shall improve water management according to the specific requirements of LOTUS Use Cases, representative of water challenges in India;
  3. To demonstrate and showcase the LOTUS sensor and software solution in a wide variety of Indian use cases across the whole value chain of water (urban and rural areas, drinking and irrigation water quality, river and groundwater monitoring, treated wastewater quality). Across use cases, the common goal is to improve on water availability and quality by improving on existing infrastructures, thus answering a wide range of socio-economic and technical water challenges in India;
  4. To investigate, co-design and plan the business model and market uptake of the LOTUS solution, with industrial production and further development and production of the sensor in India, ensuring an advanced but affordable, low cost product and solution for monitoring water quality, after the end of the project;
  5. To promote social innovation, by introducing co-creation, co-design and co-development with Universities, Research Centres, SMEs, NGOs, Utilities and local stakeholders, bringing together social sciences and technology experts, as a paradigm of successful EU-India Cooperation in the water sector, with lasting social, technological and business impacts for water quality in India, leading to viable, affordable and (socially) acceptable products and solutions, capacity development, job creation, contribution to wider issues and initiatives and wide outreach activities.

Visit the LOTUS website for further information. 

This fellowship investigates how to develop smart water infrastructure systems using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and big data already available in the water industry in response to a changing environment including extreme weather.

There is a critical need to develop new advanced data and visual analytics to unlock the value of large-scale water utility databases for informed real time decision making on a wide variety of different problems including leakage, flooding, water pollution and energy efficiency. This fellowship offers exactly such an opportunity, through close collaboration with Northumbrian Water Ltd, to turn piecemeal techniques into integrated solutions for industry problems, thus is timely for major impact on large investments in water infrastructure in the next 50 years.

This fellowship aims to develop the next generation advanced analytics and tools that enable real time decision making for management and operation of smart water infrastructure systems. This fellowship will promote wider deployment of sensing and measurement technologies and informed, real time decision-making. It will improve operational automation and efficiency under standard design conditions and operational resilience under extreme conditions. This fellowship is particularly important to provide a step change towards a smart water system where the sensors and controllers are linked together for fully automated decision making in response to dynamic environments.

The South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is a collaborative initiative that will help deliver economic and community benefits to the South West, whilst also protecting and enhancing the area’s natural resources.

Funded by Natural Environment Research Council’s Regional Impact from Science of the Environment programme for 5 years, SWEEP will bring academic experts, businesses and policy makers together to solve some of the challenges involved in managing, utilising and improving the natural environment.

SWEEP is a collaboration of three research institutions: the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marine Laboratory – working together with a large group of highly engaged business, policy and community partners.

Recent Projects

BRIM is a network that brings together academics, engineers and policy makers to develop a shared, multi-disciplinary vision of how to build resilience into networked risk management for highly complex engineered systems.

The aim of the network was to nurture the development of novel methodologies and tools of building resilience into networked risk management of critical infrastructure systems for identifying tipping points of interdependencies and managing cascade effects of extreme events, in particular those related to extreme weather such as flooding and drought.

This network was by Professor Guangtao Fu at the University of Exeter, supported by Professor Roy Kalawsky at Loughborough University and Dr Monica Rivas Casado at Cranfield University.

Find out more on the main BRIM website or within our bespoke project website.


CADDIES Framework

The CADDIES framework is divided into multiple components / softwares: 

  • An application programming interface (API) to create cellular automata rules and associated application(s).
  • A set of different hardware platform implementations for each CA type, allow for fast deployment of rules to highly parallel hardware, including (Linux and Windows variants of):
    • Simple serial implementations.
    • Shared memory model parallel implementations on modern CPU's, using OpenMP.
    • General Purpose Graphics Processing Unit (GPGPU) highly parallel implementations, using OpenCL.
  • A set of different CA type implementations, including:
    • Regular square grids
      • Von Neumann Neighbourhood.
      • Moore Neighbourhood.
  • Regular Hexagonal grids (under development).
    • Rapid and accurate reduced-complexity 2D urban surface flow model(s).
    • Basic application, and CA rules - Open Source
    • Advanced application and CA rules - under license agreement
      • Application
      • Dynamic Link Library (DLL) API flooding interface (under development)
  • Rapid and accurate reduced-complexity 1D sewer flow model(s) (under development).
  • Unified 1D sewer and 2D surface flow model(s) (under development). 


As part of the CADDIES Framework, a two-dimensional cellular automata based model, called Weighted Cellular Automata 2D (WCA2D), and its respective application, called caflood, has been developed. The aim of this model and application is to achieve fast flood modelling for large-scale problems using modern hardware with parallel capabilties.

The WCA2D model adopts simple transition rules rather than the complex Shallow Water Equations to simulate overland flow. Furthermore, the complexity of these transition rules are further streamlined by a weight-based system that reduces the computating cost of using physically based equations and complex mathematical operations. The WCA2D is a diffusive-like model that ignores the inertia terms and conservation of momentum and it improves the methodology used in the previous CADDIES CA2D model (Ghimire et al., 2013).

The WCA2D model has been designed to work with various general grids, (e.g., rectangular, hexagonal or triangular grid) with different neighbourhood types (e.g., the five cells of the von-Neumann (VN) neighbourhood or the nine cells of the Moore neighbourhood). The major features of this new model are: 

  1. The ratios of water transferred from the central cell to the downstream neighbour cells (intercellular-volume) are calculated using a minimalistic and quick weight-based system.
  2. The volume of water transferred between the central cell and the neighbour cells is limited by a single equation, which comprises a simplified Manning’s formula and the critical flow condition.
  3. The model can be implemented easily in parallel computing environments due to features of the cellular automata technique. 

Find out more about our CADDIES downloads and view our publications on our dedicated webpage.

Water company costs for flooding caused by surcharging sewers and burst water mains can be significant when including claims, insurance costs and outcome delivery incentives penalties. For example, one burst 20 inch water main in London’s Tooley Street in 2008 alone caused losses of “tens of millions” of pounds for Thames Water (Evening Standard, 2013). These events can also be devastating to customers as they pose substantial social and economic effects that may continue over extended periods of time. Understanding the potential risk of flooding from buried assets is essential in estimating risk exposure. However, the provision of a timely, accurate and comprehensive assessment of flood risk is challenging as it requires complex modelling and analysis methodologies. ICT solutions are required that allow risk of flooding from pipes to be assessed on a network wide scale. Following on from the development of a generic two-dimensional (2D) flood modelling tool (CADDIES) through funding from EPSRC, the researchers from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Water Systems have teamed up with ICS Consulting to customise and integrate the tool within ICS own Asset Data Management System (ADMS) to enable fast and accurate modelling and assessment of flood risk.

The two existing best practice approaches involve either one-dimensional (1D) or 2D modelling. However, with either there is an unacceptable trade-off between the speed and accuracy when multiple runs are required. The 1D models are fast but suffer from oversimplification of flood flows which are assumed to be unidirectional. However, actual flooding results in divergent/recombining paths and ponding, which limits the 1D model’s capability to accurately and realistically predict flood depths, velocities and extents, all key indicators of risk to life and property. While being more accurate, the existing 2D models are computationally expensive, requiring hours or even days to complete each simulation.

Using the new concept of “Cellular Automata”, University of Exeter researchers developed a fully dynamic 2D model (CADDIES). This takes advantage of the local interaction between water levels surrounding each square grid cell, the huge amount of freely available high-resolution LiDAR data and the power of Graphical Processing Units (GPU). As a result, the ICS-implemented system produces complex dynamically 2D flood extents and ponding areas at the very fastest speeds, while maintaining the highest accuracy levels. It closely matches the output of industry standard commercial software and is between 5-20 times faster than conventional 2D methods.

There are multiple benefits from the developed CADDIES methodology as implemented within ICS asset planning and management suite of tools, ADMS:

  • Better understanding of sources and consequences of flood risk from their own assets will allow water service companies (WSC) to prioritise their investment in flood risk mitigation making better use of limited financial resources;
  • Greatly enhanced run times of up to 20 times better than that available with existing commercial 2D models allows use in real-time company operations responding to actual flooding events;
  • Consistent network wide risk analysis results produced by ADMS, using a single setup and tens of thousands of analyses in one batch run, as opposed to running each analysis individually and by a number of analysts;
  • Reduced harm to local economies from flood events inundating residential and commercial properties, and interconnected multi-utility infrastructure through targeted investment;
  • Scientifically tested and proven flood modelling with automated time step optimisation to achieve better accuracy than 1D models and much faster runs than 2D models;
  • The use of structured square grid, which is readily available from LiDAR data and automatically used by CADDIES, reducing time-consuming processing associated with unstructured grids and avoiding a large amount of human intervention.

Water distribution and wastewater systems in the UK consist of over 700,000 km of water distribution and sewer pipes, which represents a large risk exposure from flooding caused by sewer surcharging or water main failures. There is also an emerging abundance of freely available high resolution (one meter or less) LiDAR data due to the advent of remote sensing, which enables wider applications of detailed flood risk modelling and analysis. Considering the above asset base and the need to better assess the consequence of flooding in urban areas, the potential for improving the risk assessment processes and reduce harmful consequences of flooding is enormous.

As an example, ICS have already performed flood risk analysis for a major WSC, over 20,000 water pipe simulated failure locations were considered. Further work on 120,000 pipe failure locations for the same WSC in under way.

ICS offer the tool as a fully integrated software package, either for client use or as a service, to allow wider adoption of the methodology and the associated tools.

Until recently flooding from sewer and water distribution networks has mainly been considered reactively, after the flooding has occurred. Flooding from water mains or sewers is often an unpleasant and distressing event for customers, with potential to waste precious water resources, cause pollution and harm people and the environment. Infrastructure and businesses can also be affected by flooding, further escalating the impact on local communities.

The ADMS/CADDIES methodology helps mitigate the threat of flooding to people, their property and infrastructure by providing fast and accurate data for decision makers. These significant enhancements over current technologies provide accurate information to water companies allowing them to make better investment and operational decisions. By improving the intelligence about flooding risks both quickly and accurately, the result will be better management of natural water resources and an enhanced ability to mitigate flooding impacts on society and the environment. At a time of increased pressures from severe flooding due to factors like climate change these new technologies provide water companies with leading edge tools for understanding and managing flood risks and impacts.

Modern high-performance computing used by ADMS/CADDIES minimises energy usage and increases carbon efficiency of the hardware used to run extensive flood risk analyses.

Development of a novel standalone solar-driven agriculture greenhouse desalination that grows its energy and irrigation water.

ESPRIT aimed to establish strong collaborations between the UK and Chinese partners to advance our scientific understanding of urban flooding and thus enhance flood resilience.

Through engagement with five Chinese cities that have suffered severe flooding in the past few years, the consortium created a framework of systems modelling to develop innovative solutions for strengthening cities’ resilience against flooding. The framework evaluated the effectiveness of interventions to support decision makers in strategic planning and adaptation measures.

ESPIRT worked closely with Chinese local governments and Torbay Council, UK as the project’s case studies, so as to address the common existing challenges in urban flood risk management. Various adaptation strategies were tested to compare their suitability in different weather and urban conditions. Local governments from both countries also shared their experiences and evaluated the solutions. As a result, a guidance for embedding flood resilience analysis in urban planning was established so as to safeguard future cities from the impact of flooding.

The main objectives of EU-CIRCLE were to define a holistic climate resilience infrastructure model and its constitutional components to develop the technical solution that will implement it and to extensively validate it in real world test cases.


It is presently acknowledged and scientifically proven than climate related hazards have the potential to substantially affect the lifespan and effectiveness or even destroy of European Critical Infrastructures (CI), particularly the energy, transportation sectors, buildings, marine and water management infrastructure with devastating impacts in EU appraising the social and economic losses. The main strategic objective of EU-CIRCLE is to move towards infrastructure network(s) that is resilient to today’s natural hazards and prepared for the future changing climate. Furthermore, modern infrastructures are inherently interconnected and interdependent systems ; thus extreme events are liable to lead to ‘cascade failures’.

EU-CIRCLE’s scope is to derive an innovative framework for supporting the interconnected European Infrastructure’s resilience to climate pressures, supported by an end-to-end modelling environment where new analyses can be added anywhere along the analysis workflow and multiple scientific disciplines can work together to understand interdependencies, validate results, and present findings in a unified manner providing an efficient “Best of Breeds” solution of integrating into a holisti resilience model existing modelling tools and data in a standardised fashion.

It, will be open & accessible to all interested parties in the infrastructure resilience business and having a confirmed interest in creating customized and innovative solutions. It will be complemented with a webbased portal.The design principles, offering transparency and greater flexibility, will allow potential users to introduce fully tailored solutions and infrastructure data, by defining and implementing customised impact assessment models, and use climate / weather data on demand.


  • From response & prevention to resilience
  • Balancing Priorities
  • CIRP, Advanced Modelling and Simulation Environment for Assessing Climate Impacts to Infrastructures
  • SimICI a unique reference test-bed
  • Innovative local impact assessments
  • Reduce uncertainties
  • Contribute to Climate impact assessment standards
  • Scientific Support to policies and CI stakeholders
  • EU-CIRCLE as a vehicle to Industry Growth

Link to EU Policies

EU-CIRCLE lies on the intersection of several European policies and initiatives spanning across different domains. These include:

The EU Internal Security Strategy, and more importantly the 5th Objective to Increase Europe’s resilience to crises and disasters. This calls for an all-hazards approach to threat and risk assessment: guidelines for disaster management will be drawn up, national approaches will be developed, cross-sectoral overviews of possible risks will be established together with overviews of current threats, an initiative on health security will be developed, and a risk management policy will be established.

The EU Climate Adaptation Strategy (SWD (2013) 299), acknowledges that climate related hazards will have a defining impact on the status and operational capacity of European critical infrastructures, and society as a whole. More specifically, the following points have been identified:

  • Asset deterioration and reduced life expectancy
  • Increases in Operational Expenditure (OPEX) and the need for additional Capital Expenditure (CAPEX)
  • Loss of income
  • Increased risks of environmental damage and litigation
  • Reputation damage
  • Changes in market demand for goods and services
  • Increased insurance costs or lack of insurance availability.

The European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (Directive 2008/114/EC), on the identification and designation of European Critical Infrastructures and the assessment of the need to improve their protection. Identified Critical infrastructures which, if disrupted or destroyed, would have a serious impact on health, safety, security or economic well-being of citizens and/or effective functioning of government in Member States. The Directive requested an all-hazards risk framework treating natural hazards and terrorism alike, setting the principles upon which the Member States must ensure that an operator security plan (OSP) or an equivalent measure for each designated CI is devised.

The Flooding from Intense Rainfall programme was a NERC-led five-year programme which contributed to our understanding of the risks associated with flooding from high-intensity convective storms.

The FFIR was led by the University of Reading and included three work packages, each with a specific goal:

WP1 Project FRANC:

Forecasting Rainfall exploiting new data Assimilation techniques and Novel observations of Convection

Goal: To improve short-range forecasts of severe weather via the reduction of initial condition errors

WP2 Project SINATRA:

Susceptibility of catchments to INTense RAinfall and flooding

Goal: To advance scientific understanding of the processes determining the probability, incidence, and impacts of FFIR


Towards END-to End flood forecasting and a tool for ReaL-time catchment susceptibility'

Goal: To demonstrate end-to-end forecasting of flooding from intense rainfall, improve the effectiveness of flood risk management and underpin flood forecasting and risk management through the gathering of high quality scientific and community sourced data.

The CWS team worked on both the SINATRA and TENDERLY projects to develop an advanced inundation model that adopts high resolution rainfall measurement and forecast information for near real-time modelling and forecasting, to improve scientific understanding and risk management of FFIR.

This project aimed to develop a flexible approach for water system planning and management that takes into account uncertainty and allows decision adjustments to be made as new information, new funds or new opportunities become available.

This project aimed to address the issue of efficient water and energy demand resources management for the Chilean mining industry through modelling of water supply system and optimisation of its operation.

The main aim of the project was to advance knowledge about water demand in mining industry in order to develop cost-effective methodologies and tools to manage water demand by reducing water wastage, energy demand and impact on environment. This was achieved by development of an integrated water management framework to demonstrate evidence based potential of reducing impact on water in the whole water cycle (starting from seawater source to mining processes and finally when the used water is released back to environment) of mining industry.

Funded by the EPSRC, Professor Slobodan Djordjevic is leading the RAMB project, which is aimed at studying hydrodynamics and wear on bridges.

This is called ‘scour’ and happens when water courses are blocked by debris. Scour has been identified as a major cause of bridge failure during flooding. The project will investigate the hydrodynamic effects of floating debris in the watercourse during floods, and devise a systematic methodology to assess risks of debris blockage on masonry bridges and on bridge piers. The outcomes and developed methodology for risk assessment will be built into existing guidance from CIRIA. This is expected to enable optimal maintenance of bridges at risk to debris blockage and thereby improve resilience of the transport network and the rate of post-flood recovery.

RAMB stands for Risk Assessment of Masonry Bridges Under Flood Conditions: Hydrodynamic Effects of Debris Blockage and Scour.

Find out more about this project via our designated webpage.

SWEEP 006 connects academics and industry to evaluate and implement the potential of regional scale sustainable drainage in South West England.

The South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is a collaborative initiative that will help deliver economic and community benefits to the South West, whilst also protecting and enhancing the area’s natural resources.

SWEEP 006 (Sustainable Drainage) is a sub-award of the main SWEEP partnership. The objective of this sub-award is to connect academia and industry to evaluate and implement sustainable drainage at a regional scale in South West England.

The project achieves this aim through establishing academic-industry networks, delivering training, developing tools and supporting ongoing sustainable drainage projects with partners across the region.

Find out more on the dedicated website.

Past Projects

The main aim of the CADDIES project is to produce better algorithms for handling dual drainage flood modelling, i.e where the urban surface flow (major system) is combined with the sewer flow (minor system).

Find out more on our website.

CWS is leading an international research consortium, including colleagues from University of Exeter, UK, University of Central Florida (UCF), US, and Tsinghua University (THU), China, to develop the advanced methodology in the project Flood impact assessment in mega cities under urban sprawl and climate change funded by the Global Innovation Initiative (GII), which aims to support multilateral research collaboration to address global challenges.

Prof Dragan Savic at CWS is the coordinator of the consortium, supported by Prof Ni-Bin Chang at UCF and Prof Binliang Lin at THU. The project aims to investigate the future flood impact as the consequence of the combination of urban development and climate change in three mega cities - London, New York and Beijing. Two of them are coastal cities facing threats from both heavier precipitation and sea level rise.

An urban growth model will be developed using the satellite sensor data and the artificial intelligence techniques to detect the changing trends of urban sprawl and to project future urban growth scenarios in these three cities. The parameters derived from the urban growth model will be used in hydraulic modelling to assess the flood impact for the whole city in the 2050s.

The state-of-the-art hydraulic models will be set up to simulate flooding in complex urban environment with high spatial resolution. The multi-disciplinary collaboration will bring the experts from the UK, the US and China together to create an operational framework for analysing flood impact associated with various urban development conditions and climate change scenarios at the mega-city scale. The results can inform urban planners about the potential increase of flood risk such that better urban development strategies can be developed and implemented to mitigate flood impact.

Funding bodies: Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Environment Agency, UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Scottish Executive.

The Flood Risk Management Research Consortium (FRMRC) is an interdisciplinary group investigating the prediction, prevention and mitigation of flooding. The project is being carried out over the period 2004-2008 and involves a number of UK academic institutions with a total budget of £5.7m, the Consortium employs 30 post-doctoral researchers and 12 research students (1 post-doc and 1 student at Exeter).

The Consortium is funded by the EPSRC, in collaboration with the Defra / EA Joint Thematic R&D Programme for Flood & Coastal Defence, UKWIRNERC and the Scottish Executive. The concept behind this innovative joint funding arrangement is that it allows the Consortium to combine the strengths of blue skies and near-market researchers and research philosophies in a truly multi-disciplinary programme.

The research portfolio has been formulated to address key issues in flood science and engineering, while being consistent with the objectives of the funding agencies. The ethos of the consortium is to encourage a holistic approach with research in most work packages conducted jointly by researchers from two or more areas.

FRMRC will address eight Research Priority Areas (RPA), identified as being of key importance by end-users and stakeholders at the workshops organised by EPSRC during 2002:

  1. Project management (integration of RPAs)
  2. Land use management
  3. Real time flood forecasting
  4. Infrastructure management
  5. Whole systems modelling
  6. Urban flood management
  7. Stakeholder and policy
  8. Geomorphology, sediments and habitats
  9. Risk and uncertainty

The Centre for Water Systems is engaged in RPA 6 Urban Flood Management, together with the Pennine Water Group (Sheffield), Imperial College (London) and University of Wales (Aberystwyth) and in collaboration with the University of Belgrade.

Urban flooding is caused by the drainage system being unable to cope with the volume of surface runoff and includes co-incident flooding due to both river and rainfall floods inundating urban areas. Floods in urban areas impact human habitats and are a risk to public health. There is a need for improved modelling to predict urban flood routes and the extent of flooding so that mitigation measures can be designed to cope with unwanted water surcharged from the sewer system. It is planned to develop new serviceability indicators for asset performance and remediation, and to quantify the impact of urban flooding on health.

Methodology and software under development at the Centre will be used along with other tools for simulation of urban flooding. The approach incorporates two specific concepts:

  1. Explicit modelling of water exchange between surcharged flow in a piped system and the surface flow on the streets during a flood, when these two systems form a multiple-looped network involving a complex interaction of flows.
  2. Application of advanced GIS-based analytic tools to predict flood flow paths by effective utilization of digital terrain models, detailed surface cover (land-use) images, spatially and temporally variable rainfall, and other data.

Flood risk management research consortium 2 - FRMRC2 has been formulated to address key issues in flood science and engineering and the portfolio of research includes the short-term delivery of tools and techniques to support more accurate flood forecasting and warning, improvements to flood management infrastructure and reduction of flood risk to people, property and the environment. A particular feature of the 2nd phase is the concerted effort to focus on coastal and urban flooding.

Find out more on our dedicated webpage.

View all of our projects related to our CWS research.