Completed research projects


The nofdp-project is embedded in the Interreg IIIB programme, an initiative of the European Commission aiming at the promotion of interregional cooperation within Europe. Project goal is the development of guidelines for the implementation of nature-oriented flood damage prevention. A computer-based Information & Decision Support System (IDSS) will be developed to support decision makers and project managers achieving this ambitious target. Please download the latest version of the nofdp idss on this website for free. The nofdp project is supported by four investment projects covering small to medium-size rivers located in the Netherlands and Germany. The Hessian Ministry of Environment, Rural Development and Consumer Protection has commissioned the project coordination to the Section of Engineering Hydrology and Water Resources Management. For further information please refer to the nofdp homepage .

Modification of the guideline on the identification of critical pollution in water bodies through wastewater impacts – Development of a simulation based method for analysis and planning

When a permission in terms of the German water law to discharge wastewater into water bodies is granted, then the concentrations of relevant pollutants at the wastewater treatment plant are limited. If there are combined sewers, the frequency, duration and quantities of discharge are limited as well. For reasons of water body protection, it could be necessary to pose further requirements on the quality and quantity of discharged wastewater. Therefore the realities of the water body in question must be reviewed and evaluated before a permission is granted, extended or modified. To this end, the state of Hesse has developed a guideline in consideration of the European Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EG.

Based on the existing approaches contained in the guideline, this project investigates further considerations on immission-based verification and intends to develop proposals for an improved use of data and models collected over the last 15 years.

Goal of the project is the development of a simulation based method for the analysis and planning of immission oriented verification. Building on developments of the Hessian waste water discharge model SMUSI 5.0 the verification is extended to rural catchment and water body elements (Extended waste water discharge model). Because this extended model considers outflow and storage processes of urban system elements in detail, using this model enables a better qualified identification of impacts in the water bodies and allows for comparative planning of measures. In this process there is no need for further data collection compared to the existing guideline.

Risk Management of Extreme Flood Events (RIMAX)

Within the framework of the RIMAX (Risk Management of Extreme Flood Events) research activity funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, we are working on the project “Improvement of dam safety and reduction of flood risk for downstream river sections using optimized operating rules for reservoirs and polders under consideration of ecological aspects ”.

Currently, new approaches for a more thorough consideration of ecological aspects in the development of flood control concepts are under discussion, which, in the medium term, can be expected to be implemented in line with the EU Water Framework Directive. At the same time, it must be ensured that the new operating concepts do not impair the safety of the dams, or better yet, that dam safety is improved, where necessary.

This research project aims to develop the framework of a suitable tool for analyzing flood control systems in low mountain ranges and adjacent transitional stretches that are significantly affected by dams. This methodology comprises coupled monitoring and model systems that allow for the development of dynamic operating strategies, which, ultimately, can render obsolete the hitherto common practice of treating operating rules and real-time control separately.

Our project partner, the Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Applied Hydromechanics of TU Dresden deals with the management of flood control storage areas downstream of dams. The case study for this project is the reservoir system on the Rur River in Western Germany, managed by the Wasserverband Eifel-Rur .

Discrete-continuous optimization of complex dynamic water supply and urban drainage systems (Odysseus)

Simulation and optimization methods have been employed in the area of water resources management for several decades. In particular the development of complex simulation models and their application in the context of optimal decision making is growing fast. Only in rare cases, however, there is a feedback or direct cooperation with applied mathematics. Simultaneous knowledge and developments in mathematics remain unconsidered because of missing connections. It is obvious that missing connections and integration leads to reduced knowledge.

Generally it has been recognized that individual approaches of real problems hardly lead to innovations. The transgression of borders between fields of research opens an unknown range of possibilities for synergy and innovation.

The project “Discrete-continuous optimization of complex dynamic water supply and urban drainage systems” tries to overcome these limitations of missing cooperation. The individual subprojects are carried out in cooperation with companies and planning offices and have therefore narrow practical orientation. For further information please refer to the Odysseus homepage

Integrated real time control of urban drainage systems

In urban drainage management real time control (RTC) of combined sewer systems is now in many cases accepted as an alternative to often applied conventional measures like building overflow structures or additional storage. The main reasons are the search for cost efficient solutions and the ongoing development of computer hardware and software which have led to appropriate tools for computation and of measurement sensors which result in a better understanding of hydraulic and pollution transport and their interaction.

Emission based regulations have been successful in cutting down the pollution of receiving water bodies but a better understanding of the whole system has brought up a different approach in urban drainage management. In 2000 the EU implemented the water framework directive which led to a change in local administration rules. In the federal state of Hessen, for example, in order to gain the approval to discharge overflow water into natural rivers, on top of the existing regulations water boards have to prove they comply with a new immission-based regulation. In fact the new regulation asks for an integrated analysis of the planned measures including the determination of the effects caused by hydraulic and pollution immission into the receiving water body.

For the evaluation of the effects of real time control measures appropriate tools, i.e. simulation software has to be at hand. The integrated urban drainage system consists of the sewer system, the waste water treatment plant and the receiving water body and therefore the software has to be able to model these components. In this thesis different aspects are analyzed:

  • Requirements of the integrated simulation software: How detailed do we need to model the individual parts of the urban drainage system. Can we use hydrodynamic models for model based control which work with optimization algorithms?
  • New developments of simulation software: How realistic is the use of hydrodynamic modeling approaches for model predictive control with new numerical algorithms at hand?
  • Analysis of different optimization approaches for the use with model-based predictive control: Do we need global optimization algorithms or are local algorithms good enough to achieve equally good results? How good are hybrid algorithms?
  • Application of multi-objective optimization algorithms in real-time-control: In which way can we use multi-objective algorithms at all?

Different simulation software will be used for the analysis. A main focus of the research is the application of available simulation software.

EWASE (Early Warning Systems for Flash-Floods – Efficiency and Effectiveness)

The EWASE project is embedded in the ERA-NET CRUE integrated project, supported by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme. The EWASE project aims at the evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of Early warning systems (EWS) for medium sized river basins prone to flash floods.

A cross sectional and interdisciplinary approach is pursued to relate the concept of risk analysis to the development of strategies for flood damage prevention through early warning in flash flood regions. The performance of existing structural protection schemes in the Besòs (Spain) and Traisen (Austria) river basins are reviewed and the potential improvement through the use of EWS will be investigated. For further information please refer to the ewase homepage

Hydrologic runoff and pollution load model – SMUSI 5.0

The purpose of the SMUSI model is the simulation of pollution load in urban sewer systems. This model is used to determine the dimensions of constructions for water pollution control in combined sewer systems. The SMUSI model allows to prove to the controlling authorities that the limits for dirt discharge are not exceeded. The model is available to the experts community against payment of a licence fee.

The sofware runs on any normally equippted pc. It is especially suitable for use in enineering agencies charged with the planning of urban sewer systems. The Hessisches Landesamt für Umwelt und Geologie is responsible for the distribution of SMUSI 5.0. IHWB no longer provides free support. Paid support is available upon request.

Integrated immission based modelling of discharge and nutrient flux for catchments with complex landuse patterns

Catchments are typically formed by a patchwork of urbanized, agricultural and natural areas. Figure 1 outlines sub-systems of such a catchment. It comprises urban areas with sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), rural parts with natural or agricultural areas and the receiving water body.

Most integrated model approaches in the field of urban drainage consider only one sewer system and WWTP in detail. Flow and pollution information stemming from upstream agricultural, natural or urban areas are normally considered in a simplified manner and not modelled explicitly. In contrast, the representation of urban areas is not possible in most models for diffuse sources and if, urban impacts are represented in a simplified manner.

An integrated approach for catchment wide modelling is developed. The approach is based on different models for the sub systems of a river basin: Multiple urban areas including respective sewer systems, combined sewer overflows and waste water treatment plants; rural catchments with natural or agricultural sub areas and the river body itself. Impacts on water quality from all sub systems are considered including diffuse pollution sources from agricultural and natural areas.

Pilot project Modau – River basin plan for a small watershed accordant to the EU-Water Framework Directive

Since midyear 2005 in Hessen five pilot projects are in progress. The projects should prepare the compilation of the river basin management plans by testing several working steps, whereas each project has specific exigencies.

By the end of 2006 a river basin plan for each surface water body and two groundwater bodies in the watershed of the Modau must be published (Pilotprojet Modau ). The development of the river basin plan and the implemented program of measures as specified in Annex VI and VII of the WFD are based on the results of the survey report and the monitoring programs. In a first step it has to be determined in how far the environmental objectives of the relevant water bodies can not be achieved. The gap analysis identifies the discrepancy between the current status of a water body and the required (good) status. Based on this, adequate measures to improve the status of the water bodies have to be analysed. The analysis should result in a combination of measures which improve the status of a water body most efficiently. The final reports of the single pilot projects are published on the homepage of the 'Hessisches Ministerium für Umwelt, ländlichen Raum und Verbraucherschutz' (HMULV ) (in german).

Adaptive Reservoir Operation Strategies under Changing Boundary Condition – the case of Aswan High Dam Reservoir

During the lifetime of a reservoir its boundary conditions are continuously changing. Such changes include global changes such as climate and economic change as well as national, regional and local changes. National changes are often induced by modified political objectives, regional changes might include supply and demand alterations, while local changes include modifications directly linked to the reservoir infrastructure itself. It must be the objective to be prepared for such changes by analysing the consequences of potential future changes, defined by a set a feasible scenarios (multiple futures).

In this research BlueM, a model developed by the Institute for Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering, Section for Hydrology and Water Management of the Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany, will be used to analyses future development of water resources yield and demand and related potential future modifications of the infrastructure and its operation for the case of Aswan high dam reservoir.

WSM300-Improved approaches for water resources management for intensly used watersheds based on integrated benefit and risk assessment

Within the frame of the research project “Improved approaches for water resources management for intensly used watersheds based on integrated benefit and risk assessment (WSM-300)” sponsored by Deutsche Bundessstiftung Umwelt, a methodology is developed which guides and supports an improved water resources management on the level of small watersheds (up to 300 km²). The developed methodology is to be implemented into a software based tool within the framework of a generic Decision Support System (DSS). Ihwb is mainly participating in the research project with the case study Modau .

Implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive: Water quality modelling for the Upper Modau

The EU Water Framework Directive requires the achievement of good ecological status of water bodies until the year 2005. After the survey of the current status, Germany is now in the monitoring phase. Beyond the necessary in field measurments simulation models can contribute in this phase.

For the case study of the Upper Modau and the flood control reservoir Ober-Ramstadt (located in Hessia, Germany) the suitability of water quality models to achieve the aims of the EU Water Framework Directive is analysed.

A modelling concept for integral simulation of urban and rural hydrology on the basin scale

Traditionally urban and rural hydrology is treated from a different point of view, usually from different engineering disciplines as well. However, recent development in european water politics (European Water Framework Directive) calls for a rather integrated view in managing our water resources; this also includes an integrated view of rural and rural areas and their interactions.

Aim of this work is to develop an approach to integrate a detailed modelling system for urban areas in a grid-based, GIS-coupled modelling system for natural catchment hydrology. The integrated modelling system will allow to study the influence of urban areas on natural stream flow on a detailed basis by explicitly considering interactions of waterflow between urban and rural areas.

Accounting for uncertainty in hydrological modelling

Computer based simulation models are widely used in water resources management. The knowledge of basic physical processes is still limited, so models are always a simplified representation of the regarded system. For this reason model results should be considered as estimates or predictions with uncertainty as inherent attribute. The sources of model predictive uncertainty are diverse.

The objective of this research is to derive a methodology to (1) quantify and include different sources of uncertainty in hydrological models (2) to analyse their impact on model results both separately and collectively in order to (3) achieve a more complete information of model predictive uncertainty as an important requisite for (4) an improved assessment of risks.

Furthermore this is expected to provide more detailed insight into validity of models and model parts, to give valuable indications of possibilities to reduce uncertainty, to augment model performance and reliability and increase information content and credibility of model results.