A rapid urban flood inundation and damage assessment model

Behzad Jamali, Roland Löwe, Peter M. Bach, Christian Urich, Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen, Ana Deletic

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139 Citations (Scopus)


Urban pluvial flooding is a global challenge that is frequently caused by the lack of available infiltration, retention and drainage capacity in cities. This paper presents RUFIDAM, an urban pluvial flood model, developed using GIS technology with the intention of rapidly estimating flood extent, depth and its associated damage. RUFIDAM integrates a 1D hydraulic drainage network model (SWMM or MOUSE) with an adapted version of rapid flood inundation models. One-metre resolution topographic data was used to identify depressions in an urban catchment. Volume-elevation relationships and minimum elevation between adjacent depressions were determined. Mass balance considerations were then used to simulate movement of water between depressions. Surcharge volumes from the 1D drainage network model were fed statically into the rapid inundation model. The model was tested on three urban catchments located in southeast Melbourne. Results of flood depth, extent and damage costs were compared to those produced using MIKE FLOOD; a well-known 1D-2D hydrodynamic model. Results showed that RUFIDAM can predict flood extent and accumulated damage cost with acceptable accuracy. Although some variations in the simulated location of flooding were observed, simulation time was reduced by two orders of magnitude compared to MIKE FLOOD. As such, RUFIDAM is suitable for large-scale flood studies and risk-based approaches that rely on a large number of simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1098
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • Flood damage cost
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Hydrodynamic modelling
  • SWMM

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