Articles | Volume 16, issue 4
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 941–961, 2016
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 941–961, 2016

Research article 13 Apr 2016

Research article | 13 Apr 2016

Combined fluvial and pluvial urban flood hazard analysis: concept development and application to Can Tho city, Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Heiko Apel1, Oriol Martínez Trepat1, Nguyen Nghia Hung2, Do Thi Chinh1,2, Bruno Merz1, and Nguyen Viet Dung1,2 Heiko Apel et al.
  • 1GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Southern Institute of Water Resources Research SIWRR, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Abstract. Many urban areas experience both fluvial and pluvial floods, because locations next to rivers are preferred settlement areas and the predominantly sealed urban surface prevents infiltration and facilitates surface inundation. The latter problem is enhanced in cities with insufficient or non-existent sewer systems. While there are a number of approaches to analyse either a fluvial or pluvial flood hazard, studies of a combined fluvial and pluvial flood hazard are hardly available. Thus this study aims to analyse a fluvial and a pluvial flood hazard individually, but also to develop a method for the analysis of a combined pluvial and fluvial flood hazard. This combined fluvial–pluvial flood hazard analysis is performed taking Can Tho city, the largest city in the Vietnamese part of the Mekong Delta, as an example. In this tropical environment the annual monsoon triggered floods of the Mekong River, which can coincide with heavy local convective precipitation events, causing both fluvial and pluvial flooding at the same time. The fluvial flood hazard was estimated with a copula-based bivariate extreme value statistic for the gauge Kratie at the upper boundary of the Mekong Delta and a large-scale hydrodynamic model of the Mekong Delta. This provided the boundaries for 2-dimensional hydrodynamic inundation simulation for Can Tho city. The pluvial hazard was estimated by a peak-over-threshold frequency estimation based on local rain gauge data and a stochastic rainstorm generator. Inundation for all flood scenarios was simulated by a 2-dimensional hydrodynamic model implemented on a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) for time-efficient flood propagation modelling. The combined fluvial–pluvial flood scenarios were derived by adding rainstorms to the fluvial flood events during the highest fluvial water levels. The probabilities of occurrence of the combined events were determined assuming independence of the two flood types and taking the seasonality and probability of coincidence into account. All hazards – fluvial, pluvial and combined – were accompanied by an uncertainty estimation taking into account the natural variability of the flood events. This resulted in probabilistic flood hazard maps showing the maximum inundation depths for a selected set of probabilities of occurrence, with maps showing the expectation (median) and the uncertainty by percentile maps. The results are critically discussed and their usage in flood risk management are outlined.

Short summary
Many urban areas experience both fluvial and pluvial floods, thus this study aims to analyse fluvial and pluvial flood hazards as well as combined pluvial and fluvial flood hazards. This combined fluvial–pluvial flood hazard analysis is performed in a tropical environment for Can Tho city in the Mekong Delta. The final results are probabilistic hazard maps, showing the maximum inundation caused by floods of different magnitudes along with an uncertainty estimation.
Final-revised paper