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Flood mapping, England

Flood forecasting is an essential component of flood risk management to reduce the impact of flood events. Early warning is crucial for efficient emergency response and contingency planning.

Jacobs' flood modelling software is currently used by a range of agencies and infrastructure owners to forecast potential flooding thus providing sufficient lead time to take effective action to prevent or reduce the impacts of flooding.

It is designed to rapidly and robustly perform the calculations required to predict water levels and flows as a result of rainfall and/or extreme sea levels hours or days ahead. It allows the user to forecast water levels and flow rates with confidence, depending on availability of data and response time of the system.

Jacobs' extensive experience and capability in flood forecasting and hydrometeorology delivers innovative software solutions to our clients.

Our flood modelling software is currently used as a flood forecasting tool for government bodies in six countries. It is well-suited to flood forecasting due to its short run times and model stability, whilst still retaining full hydrodynamic capability and extensive range of hydraulic structures.

It is the major hydrodynamic modelling tool used in UK government flood forecasting systems, with over 200 models operational within the Environment Agency’s (England) and Natural Resources Wales National Flood Forecasting System (NFFS), as well as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) flood forecasting system.

The NFFS and SEPA systems use our software within implementations of the well-established Delft Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) - ‘model adapters’ for FEWS are available for Flood Modeller Pro to provide the necessary input and outputs data transfers. The modular nature and open data format of Flood Modeller Pro makes it readily usable within other flood forecasting software.

Mark Franklin, a flood forecaster with the Environment Agency, says:

“We use Jacobs' flood modelling software for the majority of our real time flood forecasting models and for rating curve development. We find the software fulfils our key requirements of being fast, stable and accurate. We have worked with Jacobs to develop new functionality that meets our needs such as reservoir updating, wind shear and salinity features”

Many of the flood forecasting models operational today started life as more detailed models used for flood mapping or design of flood defence schemes. In order to optimise these models for flood forecasting a process of adaptation of the models is usually required. This can involve changing the boundaries to accept near real time data and simplifying the representation of the channel and floodplain to ensure rapid and robust simulations for the full range of potential inflows. Flood Modeller Pro includes automation tools to help the process and to generate files formatted for use within Delft-FEWS.

Alex Minett at Deltares-Delft Hydraulics, says:

“Jacobs' flood modelling software is of great use when used as part of a flood forecasting platform such as Delft-FEWS which has been used together successfully in both the UK and Mekong regions”

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