2016 – Benchmarking 2D Hydraulic Models for Dambreak and Consequence Assessments

Chriselyn Kavanagh, David Stephens, Peter Hill

Two-dimensional hydraulic models are now widely used to simulate flooding downstream of dams as part of dambreak assessment studies. These models provide high resolution information on velocity distribution across the floodplain, which is of paramount importance to accurate estimation of the depth-velocity product required when undertaking loss of life assessments. In addition, the outputs from these models are much more readily presented as maps and animations, which can be an important tool in the dam safety emergency planning process.

Recently, the United States Army Corps of Engineers released a new version of the popular hydraulic model HEC-RAS which includes the ability to conduct two-dimensional simulations. Other widely used two-dimensional models include DHI’s MIKE suite and TUFLOW. This paper presents a review of the capability, functionality and useability of these models for the specific purpose of dambreak modelling. Key features considered as part of the review include model stability, run times, methods of simulating dam breaches, outputs and the ability to link to loss of life simulation models. A case study comparing the performance of three commonly applied models is presented and discussed, and advice is provided on model selection.

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