Assessment of urban pluvial flood risk and efficiency of adaptation options through simulations – A new generation of urban planning tools

Roland Lowe, Christian Urich, Nina Sto. Domingo, Ole Mark, Ana Deletic, Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


We present a new framework for flexible testing of flood risk adaptation strategies in a variety of urban development and climate scenarios. This framework couples the 1D-2D hydrodynamic simulation package MIKE FLOOD with the agent-based urban development model DAnCE4Water and provides the possibility to systematically test various flood risk adaptation measures ranging from large infrastructure changes over decentralised water management to urban planning policies. We have tested the framework in a case study in Melbourne, Australia considering 9 scenarios for urban development and climate and 32 potential combinations of flood adaptation measures. We found that the performance of adaptation measures strongly depended on the considered climate and urban development scenario and the other implementation measures implemented, suggesting that adaptive strategies are preferable over one-off investments. Urban planning policies proved to be an efficient means for the reduction of flood risk, while implementing property buyback and pipe increases in a guideline-oriented manner was too costly. Random variations in location and time point of urban development could have significant impact on flood risk and would in some cases outweigh the benefits of less efficient adaptation strategies. The results of our setup can serve as an input for robust decision making frameworks and thus support the identification of flood risk adaptation measures that are economically efficient and robust to variations of climate and urban layout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-367
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Agent-based modelling
  • Climate change
  • Flood risk
  • Hydrodynamic modelling
  • Robust decision making
  • Urban development

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