Impact of hydraulic model resolution and loss of life model modification on flood fatality risk estimation

Case study of the Bommelerwaard, The Netherlands

More Info


Flood simulations are important for flood (fatality) risk assessment. This article provides insight into the sensitivity of flood fatality risks to the model resolution of flood simulations and to several uncertain parameters in the loss of life model used. A case study is conducted for river flooding in a polder in the Netherlands (the Bommelerwaard) where the Dutch approach for loss of life estimation is applied. Flood models with resolutions of 100, 25, and 5 m are considered. Results show locally increased mortality rates in higher resolution simulations nearby structures including road embankments, dikes, and culverts. This causes a larger maximum individual risk value (annual probability of death for a person due to flooding) which has consequences for safety standards based on the individual risk criterion. Mortality rate in the breach zone is also affected by representations of buildings as solid objects versus as roughness elements. Furthermore, changes in the loss of life estimation approach via alternative ways of including people's behaviour, building characteristics, and age of the population, have a significant impact on flood fatality risk. Results from this study can be used to support future risk assessments and decision making with respect to safety standards.