flood and water resources

Integrated solution for flooding

Reference case municipality of Beersel

Introduction to the challenge

On 20 May 2012 and 12 June 2012 the municipality of Beersel was hit by extreme rainfall, causing flooding and mudflows in large parts of the municipality. Since such flooding had already repeatedly occurred in the past and given the climat change, the municipal authorities, together with inter-municipal association TMVW, asked Hydroscan to come with an action pkan to mitigate the flooding risk and reduce the potential damage in future.

Our approach

Determination and prioritisation of measures to be taken to minimise damage in case of future floods

flooding in the municipality of Beersel
Hydroscan has conducted an integrated analysis to reduce future damage, developed appropriate measures for this purpose and set specific priorities for the measures to be implemented. This has allowed use of the available budgets for the most critical steps.

In an initial phase, the existing bottlenecks in the water system were mapped in detail by HydroScan, inter alia through intensive consultation with the local authorities. Based on this analysis, 32 bottlenecks were identified, varying in size from a few affected homes to entire village centres of municipal districts. Subsequently, the actual cause of the bottlenecks was examined in greater detail. To this end, an integrated water model was developed in Infoworks CS, including a simulation of the run-off from fields, discharge via the sewerage systems (including water-on-street modelling) and via the existing watercourses.

This integrated water model was then used to extrapolate various scenarios and various rainfall extremities. Thus, bottlenecks were identified that are caused solely by erosion and mud run-off from the fields. The classical standardized rainfall events from the hydronaut procedure were used to identify bottlenecks caused mainly by flooding from the sewerage system. Simulations with extreme discharge in surface runoff provided insight into additional bottlenecks caused by flooding from surface runoff. 

Our solution

Preventing damage rather than preventing the actual occurrence of floods

Based on the insights gained into the existing situation, measures were developed to reduce future flooding. Here, the focus was on preventing damage rather than preventing the actual floods. Finally, priorities were established for the various measures.

The benefits

Use of the first available budgets to address the most critical flooding reduction steps

This integrated study approach provided the municipality of Beersel with a clear insight into the water challenges within its territory and resulted in a prioritised action list. This enables the municipality to implement a targeted policy aimed at reducing flooding on its territory.

This study implements the first track of the most recent 3P vision of the Flanders Environment Agency on Multi-Layer Water Safety, whereby floods are controlled by a combination of infrastructure measures (protection), adaptive construction techniques (prevention) and conscious management of existing flooding risks (preparedness).

Parallel to this, the Flanders Environment Agency has launched a study to determine the extent to which individual homes in at-risk areas can be better protected at dwelling level against the impacts of floods (second pillar in the multi-layer strategy of protection against flooding damage). The present study has provided information allowing to determine which areas are the most relevant for this purpose.


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