A risk-based network analysis of distributed in-stream leaky barriers for flood risk management

Hankin, Barry; Hewitt, Ian; Sander, Graham; Danieli, Federico; Formetta, Giuseppe; Kamilova, Alissa; Kretzschmar, Ann; Kiradjiev, Kris; Wong, Clint; Pegler, Sam; Lamb, Rob

We develop a network-based model of a catchment basin that incorporates the possibility of small-scale, in-channel, leaky barriers as flood attenuation features, on each of the edges of the network. The model can be used to understand effective risk reduction strategies considering the whole-system performance; here we focus on identifying network dam placements promoting effective dynamic utilisation of storage and placements that also reduce risk of breach or cascade failure of dams during high flows. We first demonstrate the model using idealised networks and explore risk of cascade failure using probabilistic barrier-fragility assumptions. The investigation highlights the need for robust design of nature-based measures, to avoid inadvertent exposure of communities to a flood risk, and we conclude that the principle of building the leaky barriers on the upstream tributaries is generally less risky than building on the main trunk, although this may depend on the network structure specific to the catchment under study. The efficient scheme permits rapid assessment of the whole-system performance of dams placed in different locations in real networks, demonstrated in application to a real system of leaky barriers built in Penny Gill, a stream in the West Cumbria region of Britain.

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Hankin, Barry / Hewitt, Ian / Sander, Graham / et al: A risk-based network analysis of distributed in-stream leaky barriers for flood risk management. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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