High Resolution, Consistent Online Estimation of Potential Flood Damage in The Netherlands

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Olivier Hoes1, Rolf Hut1 and Elgard van Leeuwen2, (1)Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands, (2)Deltares, Delft, Netherlands
In the current age where water authorities no longer blindly design and maintain all infrastructure just to meet a certain standardized return period, accurate estimation of potential flood damage is important in decision making with regards to flood prevention measures.

We identify three issues with current methods of estimating flood damages. Firstly, common practice is to assume that for a given land use type, damage is mainly dependent on inundation depth, and sometimes flow velocity. We recognize that depending on the type of land use inundation depth, velocity, flood duration, season, detour time and recovery time influences the amount of damage significantly. Secondly, setting stage-damage curves is usually left to an end user and can thus vary between different water authorities within a single country. What was needed at a national level is a common way of calculating flood damages, so different prevention measures can be fairly compared. Finally, most flood models use relatively large grid cells, usually in the order of 25 m2 or coarser. Especially in urban areas this leads to obvious errors: different land uses (shops, housing, park, are all classified as “urban” and treated equally.

To tackle these issues we developed a web-based model which can be accessed via www.waterschadeschatter.nl (water schade schatter is Dutch for water damage estimator). It includes all necessary data sources to calculate the damage of any potential flood in the Netherlands. It uses different damage functions for different land use types, which the user can, but need not change. It runs on 0.25m2 grid cells. Both the datasets required and the amount of calculation needed is more than a desktop computer can handle. In order to start a calculation a user needs to upload the relevant flood information to the website. The calculation is divided over several multicore servers, after which the user will receive an email with a link to the results of his calculations.

Our presentation will include a life demonstration of our online model.