On 8 March 2013, Mr. Solomon Seyoum from Ethiopia successfully presented and defended his PhD thesis and was awarded with a Doctoral degree. Professor Dimitri Solomatine was his promoter. The PhD research focused on the development and application of an urban flood modelling tool to address the problem of capturing small-scale urban features in a coarse resolution two dimensional model.
Urban flood risk and the impact of flood events are expected to increase as urban development in flood prone areas continues and rainfall intensity is increasing as a result of climate change. Aging urban drainage infrastructure already limits the drainage capacity in existing urban areas. Hence flood mitigation strategies are required as part of sound urban flood management plans to identify technically feasible and cost-effective options to reduce flood risk.
Detailed predictions of flood flows in urban areas require the use of high resolution topographic data. However, due to computational demand topographic data is often generalized to a more manageable resolution and floodplain models are built at much coarser resolutions.
However, the generalization of topographic data within urban environments leads to significant changes in the topography due to the smoothing or disregarding of dominant features such as buildings, walls and vegetation. As a result, surface flow models with a lower resolution more likely produce inaccurate flood simulation results than high resolution surface flow models.
Mr. Seyoum’s research focused on the development and application of an urban flood modelling tool to address the problem of capturing small-scale urban features in a coarse resolution two dimensional model with the aim of improving flood forecasts in geometrically complex urban environments. The research also explored the complex interaction between surcharged subsurface drainage systems and urban free surface flows, including infiltration processes.