Formulation of a fast 2D urban pluvial flood model using a cellular automata approach

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With the increase in frequency and severity of flash flood events in major cities around the world, the infrastructure and people living in those urban areas are exposed continuously to high risk levels of pluvial flooding. The situation is likely to be exacerbated by the potential impact of future climate change. A fast flood model could be very useful for flood risk analysis. One-dimensional (1D) models provide limited information about the flow dynamics whereas two-dimensional (2D) models require substantial computational time and cost, a factor that limits their use. This paper presents an alternative approach using cellular automata (CA) for 2D modelling. The model uses regular grid cells as a discrete space for the CA setup and applies generic rules to local neighbourhood cells to simulate the spatio-temporal evolution of pluvial flooding. The proposed CA model is applied to a hypothetical terrain and a real urban area. The synchronous state updating rule and inherent nature of the proposed model contributes to a great reduction in computational time. The results are compared with a hydraulic model and good agreement is found between the two models.

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