PhD project: Optimising Flood Risk Management Interventions in Catchments and Cities
Supervisors: Dr Vassilis Glenis, Dr Elizabeth Lewis, Professor Chris Kilsby
Project summary: Detailed flood models are used to assess increased future flood risk in cities and catchments, and to design flood attenuation features including green infrastructure (GI) or natural flood management (NFM). It is important that the limited funding available for flood management is spent wisely, locating GI or NFM features optimally so they maximally reduce flows and storm sewer spills. The advanced flood model CityCAT is used to simulate surface and sewer flows and can represent GI and NFM features. Design using CityCAT and other models has to date followed “expert” ad hoc methods, and only a limited number of the very large range of options is followed due to computational expense. The aim of this project is to develop an automated framework for the optimal design of flood risk management options using a range of NFM or GI in catchments and cities under future climate scenarios. The framework will provide the capability to optimise the location, type, size and number of NFM features, achieved by a machine learning optimisation algorithm to minimise risk to life and property for a given investment for a range of climate scenarios. Multiple simulations of the impact of different “populations” of NFM features will be made, controlled by an optimisation algorithm, and iterated until an optimal solution is obtained. This process provides a new level of understanding of catchment dynamics under different flood scenarios, resulting in a robust design solution for use by the lead flood authority.
The project is aligned with the OpenClim project, collaborations with the insurance industry, water companies and local authorities in the drive to keep our rivers clean. At the global scale, this project will contribute to achieving four Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) i.e., SDG-6: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG-11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG-13: Climate Action, and SDG-15: Life on Land.