Levee breaching: a new extension to the LISFLOOD-FP model

Iuliia Shustikova, Jeffrey C Neal, Alessio Domeneghetti, Paul D Bates, Sergiy Voroguyshyn, Attilio Castellarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Levee failures due to floods often cause considerable economic damage and life losses in inundated dike-protected areas, and significantly change flood hazard upstream and downstream the breach location during the event. We present a new extension for the LISFLOOD-FP hydrodynamic model which allows levee breaching along embankments in fully two-dimensional (2D) mode. Our extension allows for breach simulations in 2D structured grid hydrodynamic models at different scales and for different hydraulic loads in a computationally efficient manner. A series of tests performed on synthetic and historic events of different scale and magnitude show that the breaching module is numerically stable and reliable. We simulated breaches on synthetic terrain using unsteady flow as an upstream boundary condition and compared the outcomes with an identical setup of a full-momentum 2D solver. The synthetic tests showed that differences in the maximum flow through the breach between the two models were less than 1%, while for a small-scale flood event on the Secchia River (Italy), it was underestimated by 7% compared to a reference study. A large scale extreme event simulation on the Po River (Italy) resulted in 83% accuracy (critical success index).
Original languageEnglish
Article number942
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2020


  • residual flood risk
  • levee breach
  • 2D inundation modelling
  • Po River
  • Secchia River

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