Newswise — Washington, D.C. –  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $950,000 to Deltares USA and Deltares to develop a community-oriented, flood hazard modeling process using open source data, models and software. This effort supports the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) goal to build a culture of preparedness, and to reduce fatalities and property losses from flood disasters.

This project will develop and demonstrate a process and prototype configuration using Deltares open-source software that will help communities develop planning strategies to improve resilience to compound flood events. With this improved information on flood risks, this project provides the potential to increase the number of people buying flood insurance and drive additional mitigation investments needed to lower risk.

Compound flood events result when rain-driven inland flooding combines with storm surge flooding. These types of flood events are particularly devastating. The complex and unpredictable nature of severe weather is a challenge to developing a plan to protect a community from this type of flooding.

Deltares USA will build upon flood resilience collaborations already occurring between S&T’s Flood Apex program and Deltares. The project’s work will begin with a workshop for community and DHS stakeholders to examine and define needs, capabilities and desired outcomes. Information gathered at the workshop will inform development of the process model.  The model will be validated against historical events and hypothetical storm scenarios and tested against a prototype configuration.

“Flooding is one of the United States’ and the world’s most costly and frequent disasters. To solve this complex problem requires broadening our research collaborations, pushing the edge of current science and technology, and driving new innovation,” said Dr. David Alexander, S&T Senior Science Advisor. “DHS S&T is very excited to launch this research effort with Deltares USA in support of FEMA, first responders, and the larger flood risk management, insurance, and catastrophic modeling stakeholders.”

 The process model and prototype configuration will be fine tuned to ensure that they operate and produce outcomes consistent with the intended project goals. The project will continue through FY2021.

Based in the Netherlands, Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in water and soil.