Probabilistic Flood Defence Assessment Tools
1 Rijkswaterstaat, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, PObox 2232 3500 GE Utrecht, the Netherlands
2 Deltares, PO Box 177, 2600 MH Delft, The Netherlands
a Corresponding author: Robert.email@example.com
The WTI2017 project is responsible for the development of flood defence assessment tools for the 3600 km of Dutch primary flood defences, dikes/levees, dunes and hydraulic structures. These tools are necessary, as per January 1st 2017, the new flood risk management policy for the Netherlands will be implemented. Then, the seven decades old design practice (maximum water level methodology of 1958) and two decades old safety standards (and maximum hydraulic load methodology of 1996) will formally be replaced by a more risked based approach for the national policy in flood risk management. The formal flood defence assessment is an important part of this new policy, especially for flood defence managers, since national and regional funding for reinforcement is based on this assessment. This new flood defence policy is based on a maximum allowable probability of flooding. For this, a maximum acceptable individual risk was determined at 1/100 000 per year, this is the probability of life loss of for every protected area in the Netherlands. Safety standards of flood defences were then determined based on this acceptable individual risk. The results were adjusted based on information from cost -benefit analysis, societal risk and large scale societal disruption due to the failure of critical infrastructure e.g. power stations. The resulting riskbased flood defence safety standards range from a 300 to a 100 000 year return period for failure. Two policy studies, WV21 (Safety from floods in the 21st century) and VNK-2 (the National Flood Risk in 2010) provided the essential information to determine the new risk based safety standards for flood defences. The WTI2017 project will provide the safety assessment tools based on these new standards and is thus an essential element for the implementation of this policy change. A major issue to be tackled was the development of user-friendly tools, as the new assessment is to be carried out by personnel of the institutions managing flood the defences, and not by just a small number of experts in probabilistic assessment. Therefore, data management and use of software are main issues that have been covered in courses and training in 2016 and 2017. All in all, this is the largest change in the assessment of Dutch flood defences since 1996. In 1996 probabilistic techniques were first introduced to determine hydraulic boundary conditions (water levels and waves (wave height, wave period and direction for different return periods). To simplify the process, the assessment continues to consist of a three-step approach, moving from simple decision rules, to the methods for semi-probabilistic assessment, and finally to a fully probabilistic analysis to compare the strength of flood defences with the hydraulic loads. The formal assessment results are thus mainly based on the fully probabilistic analysis and the ultimate limit state of the strength of a flood defence. For complex flood defences, additional models and software were developed. The current Hydra software suite (for policy analysis, formal flood defence assessment and design) will be replaced by the model Ringtoets. New stand-alone software has been developed for revetments, geotechnical analysis and slope stability of the foreshore. Design software and policy analysis software, including the Delta model, will be updated in 2018. A fully probabilistic method results in more precise assessments and more transparency in the process of assessment and reconstruction of flood defences. This is of increasing importance, as large-scale infrastructural projects in a highly urbanized environment are increasingly subject to political and societal pressure to add additional features. For this reason, it is of increasing importance to be able to determine which new feature really adds to flood protection, to quantify how much its adds to the level of flood protection and to evaluate if it is really worthwhile. Please note: The Netherlands government policy is to develop open source models.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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