Urban flood management and disaster risk mitigation

Training Course
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Office - IHE Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE)
21 Apr - 09 May 2014

This course introduces current theory and practice of flood risk estimation and modelling of floods in urban areas. 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. Learning objectives

  1. A change to proactive management of water-related disasters in urban areas requires an identification of the risk, the development of strategies to reduce that risk, and the creation of policies and programmes to put these strategies into effect. 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. 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. The first learning objective is to develop enhanced understanding of the effects of climate variability on the hydrology that affects urban areas.

  2. Understand the structure, service provided and failures of the service for urban stormwater /drainage networks; Urban Drainage Asset Management and Optimisation, and learn how to model these systems and how to apply a typical modelling product (MOUSE, MIKE11, MIKE21 and SWMM)

  3. Develop understanding of how to use the models to assess the performance of existing systems and how to design the new ones within the context of different flood risks (pluvial, fluvial, coastal and flash floods)

  4. Learn how to build safe and reliable urban drainage models and how to evaluate system performance against different standards (engineering, environmental, public health, etc.), and develop understanding of novel techniques for modelling the complex geometry and interaction between surface water (including floodplains), sub-surface flows and urban drainage infrastructure (1D and coupled 1D/2D)

  5. Learn how to produce different flood risk maps in a GIS environment and how to calculate different types of flood damages, and

  6. Develop understanding of structural and non-structural flood resilience measures such as, conventional and innovative structures, early warning systems, etc., and understand how to develop effective flood disaster management plans.


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Event fee

€ 2700

Target audience

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.

How to register

Please register online.


Climate Change, Early Warning, Environment & Ecosystems, Health & Health Facilities, Risk Identification & Assessment, Urban Risk & Planning, GIS & Mapping, Water, Disaster Risk Management
Netherlands, the
The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction took place in 2015 The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction took place in 2015.
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