Flood Foresight – Near Real-time and Forecast Flood Inundation Mapping and Impact Assessment

Location: Global

Clients: Insurance companies, infrastructure owners / developers, national governments and NGOs.

Challenge

The impacts of disasters, such as deaths, economic hardship, damage to homes and livelihoods, can be avoided or significantly reduced through pre-event preparedness actions, including flood forecasting and warning, and preparing response mechanisms. To facilitate these actions, we have developed a strategic flood forecasting framework, Flood Foresight, that is efficient, transparent, customizable and can be deployed globally.

Solution

Supported by a grant from Innovate UK, a prototype real-time flood monitoring and impact assessment system was developed in 2015. Flood Foresight has since been developed in a fully operational system, deployed in several countries and being used by insurance companies, infrastructure owners / operators, national governments and NGOs.

Flood Foresight couples real-time and forecast streamflow conditions generated by telemetered river gauges or hydrological forecast models with a library of pre-computed flood hazard scenarios. The rarity of flooding (expressed as return period, flow or level) within a localized sub-basin drives a process of generating a flood inundation map (extent and depth) for the whole domain of the model based on this localized rarity. An impact module calculates flood impact on a client portfolio of assets; these can include population, infrastructure, buildings, critical facilities, or crops.  Flood maps and impact data generated by Flood Foresight are delivered into the user’s preferred software through a web-based data service that is hosted, maintained and supported by JBA.

Flood Foresight is being used for a range of client applications, including monitoring of indices for flood-based parametric insurance, as a trigger for pre-anticipatory actions to reduce humanitarian impacts of floods, as a real-time flood impacts module for national flood risk management, and as input into local authority flood early warning systems. The system has been configured using a global hydrological model from the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS), national-scale hydrological models and national river gauge telemetry. By default, Flood Foresight uses the JBA Global Flood Map dataset (with a spatial resolution of 5-30m), however it can also be configured to use alternative flood hazard maps, such as those developed by a national authority.

Benefits

Flood Foresight provides users with a broad-scale flood forecasting and early warning solution. As we already have the components to deploy the system in any country, it can be deployed rapidly anywhere in the world. This provides a framework for flood forecasting and early warning, on which more local sources of data can be integrated over time. This flexibility allows for custom deployments of the tool to meet a range of user requirements. Flood Foresight allows asset owners, humanitarians or insurers to design anticipatory actions that can be triggered by the forecast inundation and impact maps produced by the system. This can promote, ex-ante, more effective and appropriate decision making to reduce impacts of floods.

Want to know more?

Email John Bevington for more information about Flood Foresight or visit our Flood Foresight webpage. Discover more of our projects on our International Development webpage.



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