The "Linking groundwater and flooding models for operational use in the case of flooding" project is being conducted in co-operation between RWTH Aachen, Cologne flood pretection centre, Rhein Energie AG and other city authorities and it receives specialist support from HochwasserKompetenzCentrum (HKC). The aim ist the development of a linked 2D process model (groundwater and high water flooding) to predict underground flooding and the use of this process in operational application.
As well as forecasting water levels, flood hydrographs and potential floods above ground, the frequently disregarded risk from a rising groundwater level in the course of a flood wave is very important.
When river levels rise, flow conditions in the area near the bank can change between outlet channel and aquifer or reverse and result in a temporary, sometimes extremely delayed risk from groundwater. The current tenor of international specialist literature confirms the great interest of science and research in describing the interaction between bodies of surface water and groundwater. Because of this deficit, no suitable model exists at present for timely forecasting of underground flood waves.
Improvement in forecasting capabilities is therefore urgent, as reliable information must be relayed to the population particularly in operational flood protection in order to be able to warn of groundwater escaping above ground in areas that are supposedly protected from flooding. In the long term, with more accurate knowledge of groundwater levels and their variability, areas at risk can be shown and precautionary behaviour and building protection measures can therefore be instigated.