A reliable rainfall–runoff model for flood forecasting: review and application to a semi-urbanized watershed at high flood risk in Italy
Many rainfall–runoff (RR) models are available in the scientific literature. Selecting the best structure and parameterization for a model is not straightforward and depends on a broad number of factors, including climatic conditions, catchment characteristics, temporal/spatial resolution and model objectives. In this study, the RR model ‘Modello Idrologico Semi-Distribuito in continuo’ (MISDc), mainly developed for flood simulation in Mediterranean basins, was tested on the Seveso basin, which is stressed several times a year by flooding events mainly caused by excessive urbanization. The work summarizes a compendium of the MISDc applications over a wide range of catchments in European countries and then it analyses the performances over the Seveso basin. The results show a good fit behaviour during both the calibration and the validation periods with a Nash–Sutcliffe coefficient index larger than 0.9. Moreover, the median volume and peak discharge errors calculated on several flood events were less than 25%. In conclusion, we can be assured that the reliability and computational speed could make the MISDc model suitable for flood estimation in many catchments of different geographical contexts and land use characteristics. Moreover, MISDc will also be useful for future support of real-time decision-making for flood risk management in the Seveso basin.