A review of the current status of flood modelling for urban flood risk management in the developing countries

U. C. Nkwunonwo, M. Whitworth, B. Baily

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The prevalence of flooding events and the associated risk in the urban areas is an increasingly important issue of global significance, although it is more critical for the developing countries (DCs), such as Nigeria, where the hazard is often poorly understood and understudied. With current predictions of worsening future scenarios, it is important to pursue integrated flood risk management approaches which incorporate flood modelling. This paper is part of a research programme which is assessing and modelling urban flood risks in the DCs and data poor areas. It focuses on the latest science and philosophy in relation to urban flood risk management in the DCs. It reviews the literature around current flood modelling techniques and provides a comprehensive table of the different approaches alongside the strengths and weaknesses of the different models. Indeed, research in the vicinity of flood modelling has been extensive, and over the years has resulted in the development of a wide variety of schema, datasets and methodologies for simulating flood hydrodynamics. However, the actual potential of these developments has not been demonstrated in the management of flood risk within the DCs. To date, a perfect model or generic technique which can capture every aspect of flood hydrodynamics in an optimal fashion within the diversity of study locations is still unrealistic. Thus, to bypass the present flood modelling challenges within the context of the DCs, extensive calibration of state-of-the-art flood models is of significance. Additionally, researchers within the DCs should be fascinated by the prospect of developing bespoke flood models based on simple mathematical formulations which are easy to parameterize using global, open source and freely- accessible datasets.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00269
Number of pages16
JournalScientific African
Early online date23 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • urban flooding
  • flood risk management
  • developing countries
  • urban areas
  • flood modelling
  • uncertainty estimation
  • sensitivity analysis


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