Urban Flood Management and Disaster Risk Mitigation

This course introduces current theory and practice of flood risk estimation and modelling of floods in urban areas. It provides hands-on practice with industrial standard software. 

For whom?

The course is designed for professionals (engineers, scientists and managers/planners) active in the urban water sector, especially those involved in using simulation models for planning of drainage networks and water-related disaster management activities.

Participants will be familiar with planning, design, operation and maintenance of urban drainage systems. Pre-requisites are a basic knowledge of hydraulics and hydrology.


Basic knowledge of hydraulics and hydrology.

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. To explain structural and non-structural flood resilience measures such as, conventional and innovative structures, early warning systems, etc.
  2. To learn how to produce different flood risk maps in a GIS environment and how to calculate different types of flood damages, and
  3. To assess the performance of existing and new drainage systems by using models within the context of different flood risks (pluvial, fluvial, coastal and flash floods)
  4. To propose and judge different adequate technical rehabilitation measures to mitigate urban flooding.

The main objective of this course is to provide the most up-to-date information on the topic of urban flood modelling and disaster management and to enable participants to be more effective in applying modelling tools and techniques for urban flood management. Different modelling approaches are considered and they range from data driven to physically based, from conceptual to detailed 1D-2D modelling. These approaches are then embedded in the wider context of flood risk assessment and disaster management. This wider context considers everything from how the urban planning process should take place in areas with potential flood risks, to urban hydrology, climate change, flood hazards, environmental impacts, public health issues and the conceptual design of flood protection schemes.

Course content

Urban Development Planning and Asset Management

The course starts with the wider picture and considers how flood risk is managed as part of the urban development planning and asset management process.


Urban Hydrology and Climate Change
This will give participants an understanding of how the rainfall-runoff process occurs and what would be the implications of different climate change scenarios.

System Performance Assessment
This part of the course will consider the procedure of how to build safe and reliable urban drainage models and how to evaluate a system’s performance against different standards (design, environmental, public health, etc.).

Flood Risks
Flood risks due to the following types of urban floods will be considered:

  • (Fluvial) Flooding resulting from rivers breaching or overtopping flood defences and inundating urban areas;
  • (Coastal) Flooding resulting from tidal or storm surges in cities close to the coast or deltas;
  • (Pluvial) Flooding caused by heavy rainfall exceeding the capacity of the drainage systems;
  • Flash floods caused by rapid response of ephemeral streams to heavy rainfall, related, inter alia to steep slopes.

Flood Inundation Modelling
1D, 1D-1D and 1D-2D flood inundation modelling approaches will receive particular attention during the lectures and hands-on exercises.

Supporting Technologies 
The course will discuss and demonstrate the benefits of using supporting technologies such as GIS and Remote Sensing, Flood Forecasting and Early Warning Systems, Decision Support and Information Systems. Particular attention will be given to the use of in-situ flow/level and rainfall gauges and the use of weather radar.

Flood Risk Estimation and Management
In this part of the course, the participants will be introduced into different ways of assessing and managing urban flood risks through a source-pathway-receptors framework. Special attention will be given to the selection of different structural and non-structural measures including Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

Modelling Uncertainty
It is important to note that evolution of floods in urban areas is caused by several interrelated factors and as such modelling of their dynamics and impacts should not be considered as a precise activity. This part of the course will address different sources of modelling uncertainty and its influence on estimation of flood impacts.

Theory and Practice of Disaster Management 
This part of the course will discuss both theoretical and practical aspects of proactive disaster management practice. It will connect all previously covered aspects for formulation of strategies for disaster prevention, mitigation, response and recovery.

Particular attention will be given to the vulnerability analysis and model-based estimation of flood damages. Different probabilities of floods and depth-damage curves will be considered. Also, practical aspects with respect to design and implementation of real-life information systems will be discussed.



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