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Forecasting and management of extreme rainfall induced risks in the urban environment (PLURISK)

Research project SD/RI/01A (Research action SD)


Persons :

  • Prof. dr.  WILLEMS Patrick - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven)
    Coordinator of the project
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/5/2012-30/4/2016
  • Prof. dr.  MAHY Grégory - Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (GxABT)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/5/2012-30/4/2016
  • Dhr.  BACHUS Kris - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/5/2012-30/4/2016
  • Prof. dr.  VAN BALEN Koenraad - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/5/2012-30/4/2016
  • Dr.  DELOBBE Laurent - Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/5/2012-30/4/2016

Description :

Context

Extreme local rain storms might induce severe floods and related socio-economic impacts on the urban environment (Belgian cities). While floods along rivers have been studied already extensively, quantification, forecasting, control and management of inundations along sewer systems and urban rivers have to face particular difficulties. They need fine-scale (local, short duration) rainfall estimation and nowcasting (=short-term forecasting in real time). They also require involvement of local authorities, which typically have low capacity in setting up risk quantification, forecasting, control and management systems.

Project description

 Objectives

This research project aims to support the local authorities in the quantification, forecasting, warning, control and management of pluvial floods. Methodologies and software tools will be developed for:
1. Nowcasting of fine-scale extreme rainfall
2. Two-dimensional fine-scale modelling, mapping and nowcasting of inundations in urban areas
3. Socio-economic risk quantification, incl. material and immaterial (social, ecological) damage assessment, quantification of risk perception (awareness), coping capacity and recovery capacity, and impacts on built heritage
4. Risk communication and flood risk warning based on the nowcasting results
5. Risk reduction by both prevention/management and real-time control actions

 Methodology

WP1: Nowcasting of fine-scale extreme rainfall

An operational real-time system will be developed for fine-scale rainfall nowcasting (short-term forecasting), using advanced techniques for storm cell tracking and integrating national (C-band) and local (X-band) radar technology, numerical weather prediction and lightning detection; quantification of the uncertainty in this nowcasting.

WP2: Two-dimensional fine-scale modelling, mapping and nowcasting of inundations in urban areas

The fine-scale rainfall estimates and forecasts will be simulated in the sewer network models of case studies. The improvement in the hydraulic simulation results will be analysed. The hydraulic sewer model will be extended to allow 2D modelling and mapping of surface inundations. Also quantification of uncertainties on these inundation quantifications will be made.

WP3: Socio-economic risk quantification for (historic) urban areas

A survey will be conducted among Belgian households that have already been affected by urban pluvial flooding to collect primary urban flood data and information on how people evaluate social pluvial flood impacts, on the pluvial flood risk reducing effects of risk awareness, warnings and private precautionary measures, on the relationship between urban pluvial flood characteristics and material damage and on the damage to cultural heritage.

WP4: Risk communication and warnings for urban flood risks

A warning system will be set up for extreme rainfall and urban pluvial floods based on fine-scale flood and flood risk predictions.

WP5: Risk reduction by both prevention/management (blue – green urban water infrastructures)

New management strategies will be developed by better interfacing between spatial planning, eco-management and urban water management, e.g. green – blue water; role of landscape architecture; restoration of biodiversity in urban areas incl. ecotechnologies on buildings and very dense urbanized areas, and considering the services of biodiversity for human population.

 Interaction between the different partners

The fine-scale rainfall nowcasting system will be developed by IRM with the help of KU Leuven – Hydraulics for the integration with the X-band radar data. KU Leuven – Hydraulics will develop 2D urban inundation modelling and mapping tools for the case-studies and simulate the rainfall nowcasts to obtain urban inundation results. HIVA will conduct the socio-economical risk analysis in close cooperation with the R. Lemaire International Center for Conservation and the Unesco Chair on Preventive Conservation, monitoring and maintenance of monuments and sites, for the impacts on the culturage heritage. HIVA will also cooperate with KU Leuven – Hydraulics for the interfacing between the risk quantification and the hydraulic model simulation results. Risk communication will be studied in close cooperation between HIVA and RMI. Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech will quantify the ecological risks in cooperation with HIVA, and will develop and analyse sustainable management strategies. The impacts and effectiveness of these strategies will be simulated in the hydraulic models by KU Leuven – Hydraulics.

 Link International Programmes

For the Leuven case, the use of X-band radar data and the 2D urban surface inundation modelling, close cooperation will be established with the Interreg NWE IVB project RainGain, in which the Hydraulics division of KU Leuven and the PLURISK Follow-up Committee member Aquafin are involved. Also joint Follow-up Committee meetings will be organised with that project.

 Expected results and/or Products

The fine-scale rainfall nowcasting system of WP1 will be a nation-wide system such that all Belgian cities can make use of these rainfall forecasts. The methodologies and software tools developed in the other WPs will be applicable to any Belgian city, but will be demonstrated and tested in the PLURISK project to 3 case studies (3 selected Belgian cities) only. Urban areas in Leuven, Gent, Brussels and/or Liège are proposed as case studies. At the end of the project, training will be provided to all Belgian cities on the methodologies and software developed in the PLURISK project.

Partners

Prof. Patrick Willems, KU Leuven, Hydraulics division, Department of Civil Engineering, Kasteelpark Arenberg 40, 3001 Leuven, Tel: 016 321658, Fax: 016 321989, Email: Patrick.Willems@bwk.kuleuven.be

Dr. Laurent Delobbe, Dr. Maarten Reyniers, Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI), Observations Department, Avenue Circulaire 3, 1180 Brussel, Tel: 02 3730562, Fax: 02 3757549, Email: laurent.delobbe@meteo.be

Prof. Grégory Mahy, Prof. Jan Bogaert, ULg, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Forest, Nature, Landscape Department, Biodiversity and Landscape Unit, Passage des Déportés 2, 5030 Gembloux, Tel: 081 622245, Fax: 081 614817, Email: g.mahy@ulg.ac.be

Lieven De Smet, KU Leuven, Onderzoeksinstituut voor Arbeid en Samenleving (HIVA), Parkstraat 47, 3000 Leuven, Tel: 016 323125, Fax: 016 323344, Email: Lieven.DeSmet@hiva.kuleuven.be

Prof. Koen Van Balen, KU Leuven, R. Lemaire International Center for Conservation & Unesco Chair on Preventive Conservation, monitoring and maintenance of monuments and sites, Kasteelpark Arenberg 40, 3001 Leuven, Tel: 016 321172, Fax: 016 321976, Email: Koenraad.vanbalen@bwk.kuleuven.be

Follow-up Committee

Representatives of the case studies: Aquafin NV, City of Leuven, TMVW, City of Gent, City of Liège, AIDE, IBGE/BIM

Representatives regional authorities: BelgAqua, AquaFlanders, Vlaamse Vereniging voor Steden en Gemeenten (VVSG) – Interrio, Société Bruxelloise de Gestion de l'Eau (SBGE) / Brusselse Maatschappij voor Waterbeheer (BMWB), Bruxelles Environnement - IBGE / Leefmilieu Brussel – BIM, Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij, Waterbouwkundig Laboratorium, Ministère Wallon de l’Equipement et des Transports (MET)

Other: Ministry of Internal Affairs, Agentschap Ruimte en Onroerend Erfgoed, Belgian Federation of Insurance Companies


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