A team of mathematics and civil engineers have developed a new way of visualising and analysing flood-protection schemes.
The researchers from the University of Leeds, the School of Mathematics and the Université Grenoble in France have designed a graphical display that shows as a hypothetical lake 2-metres deep, the amount of water that needs to be contained in a river valley to prevent flooding.
The graphic is overlaid with the various options necessary to hold back or capture the floodwaters, and how much each option will cost.
To illustrate their idea, the researchers used data from the floods on Boxing Day 2015, when the River Aire burst its banks in Leeds and caused extensive damage to peoples homes and businesses.
Around 9.34 million cubic metres of water flooded from the River Aire, that volume of floodwater translates into a hypothetical square lake, 2 metres deep and with sides 2.16km in length. In comparison, the River Aire is 50 miles long, with a valley width that varies between 200 – 600 metres.
The researchers used their graphical approach to analyse and communicate a hypothetical scheme for increasing the flood defences in the centre of Leeds to come with the increase of flooding due to climate change.
Professor Bokhove from the School of Mathematics at the University of Leeds said: ‘To have prevented the flood, you would have to somewhere deal with that volume of water.
‘It is not inconceivable that, along the course of the river that additional water could be accommodated, either by increasing the size of flood plains, or by removing obstructions in the river, widening the river channel in places or by building higher flood walls: or, more likely, by combining some or all of those measures.
‘Our approach is intended to offer a means of comparing and choosing between flood-mitigation scenarios in a quantifiable and visual manner, thereby offering a better chance of them being understood by a wide audience including the general public, stakeholders and planners.’
Photo Credit – Pixabay