Dynamic roughness in rivers during floods

Title: Flood waves in the Dutch Meuse River

Type: PhD-research

Persons involved: Ir J.H. Gerretsen (PhD-student)

Prof.dr. S.J.M.H. Hulscher

Funding: not applicable

Duration: July 2000 – April 2005

Links to other projects:


1. Improvement on the method of determination of the return periods of floods at Borgharen.

2. Identifying the properties of the flood wave at Borgharen that affect the water levels along the river further downstream.

3. Translation of combinations of those flood wave properties at Borgharen to downstream water levels and determination of the probability distribution of these water levels.

4. Constructing a handy forecasting model on the base of predicted precipitation.


1.1. To establish the frequency – discharge relationship, the method of Hirsch (1987) is applied, to determine the rank numbers of the floods.

2.1 The standardized central moments mu 0 through mu 4 of the discharge hydrographs will be tested for their suitability to capture the important properties of wave shapes for the downstream water levels.

3.1. A method will be developed to synthesize a flood wave at Borgharen from a given set of shape parameters.

3.2 The translation of the discharge wave at Borgharen into water level hydrographs further downstream will be made using the existing Sobek-model of the Meuse River.

3.3 In order to determine the probability distribution of the water level at any location along the river, Monte Carlo simulation with this model will be used.

4.1 On the base of a Unit Hydrograph an easy-to-use model for early assessment of threatening floods will be developed and tested against the present observed flood events.


The research will lead to:

-Revised design discharges at Borgharen.

-Downstream water level distributions based on the properties of the flood wave shapes at Borgharen.

-A simple discharge-predicting algorithm for Borgharen in case of threatening floods.