Strategic urban services modelling

Use these guidelines to:

Analyze the response of our city services in case of extreme events

Urban floods, combined sewer overflows, sea level rise and droughts are among the major climate-related haz- ards that threaten our cities. Within RESCCUE, these impacts were selected together with the project stake- holders to be assessed in the cities of Barcelona, Bris- tol and Lisbon for current and future scenarios. These hazards may trigger further impacts, known as cascade effects, on other strategic urban services, for instance, urban floods can generate traffic disruptions or electrical power shortages. Also, sea level rise can compromise the functioning of the urban drainage network.

RESCCUE aimed to provide deep knowledge about the behavior of urban services under extreme climate conditions. Monitoring and modelling can contribute to achieve this goal for current and future scenarios, where, in a context of climate change, the experience of operators may not be enough to understand the po- tential response of the systems out of usual conditions. RESCCUE also presented and tested different meth- odologies in order to develop multiple hazard assess- ment for strategic urban services and infrastructures.

5 steps to your solution:

What is your concern?
What benefits should you achieve?
What do you need to know?
What can you use?
What should you do?

What is your concern?

What hazard affects your area?

Sea level

How does it affect?

People safety
Damage to people & infrastructure
Electrical power supply
People bathing
Water supply

Hazard assessment

Integrated flood and traffic models
Flood and waste models
Flood and electrical power distribution models
Droughts and water supply models
Urban drainage and receiving water quality models
Exposed assets and services to sea level rise
Water resources

The results can be presented in form of qualitative hazard maps and/or indicators to assess hazard level from low to high.

Hazard assessment is fundamental for further risk assessment, urban resilience analysis and for the evaluation of climate change scenarios and adaptation measures.

What benefits would you achieve?

Detailed hazard assessment scenarios

Urban scale and regional scale scenarios for multiple hazards related to urban services and infrastructures.

Adapted to your local needs

Smiluations of multipe hazards can be tailored to specific requirements. Also, different levels of detail can be used depending on the local needs and the information available.

With high quality

Computer-based model simulations are a widespread decision support tool, thanks to the potential objectivity and transparency characteristics of the models that are mostly developed using the best available information and tools.

Example of a computer-based simulation of a flood map

RESCCUE solves your problems
This is how!

What is your concern?

Where is the source of your hazard?
Regional scale
Local urban scale

How does hazard affect your city?
It affects on a single urban service
It has cascade effects on other urban services and infrastructures

How long does it last?
It is a very short phenomenon
It lasts several days

When does it occur?
It is a current problem
It is a possible future problem

What is your time frame?

High-quality, understandable, useful, usable, valid and reliable information is fundamental for a quality outcome.

What can you use?

Background information
Physical data for the model setup (from drainage, electrical, water resources network, etc.)
Observed weather and systems data
Future climate variables (precipitation, temperature, sea level rise, etc.)
Local expertise

Number of hazards
A large number of multiple hazards and their cascade effects on other critical services and infrastructures can be simulated using loosely coupled models depending on local interests and resource availability.

Detailed sectorial model
Integrated model (loosely coupled models)

Usually the outputs of for instance flood models and/or drought
models can be coupled to critical infrastructure data/models to simulate multiple and cascade hazards.

Hazard maps and indicators
The achievement of hazard maps and indicators is a common and intermediate fundamental step for further risk assessment and resilience analysis including multiple cascade effects on different services and infrastructures.

What should you do?

Identify hazards

Identify the main hazard and conse- quent cascade hazards of interest.

Hazard assessment

Set-up the models to perform detailed hazard assessment in the selected urban services.

Validate derived hazards

Validate the obtained results against historical references and the data provided by risk owner and local stakeholders.

Find historical references

Use high-quality observed data (from weather and systems), articles, photos and videos from operators, press and social media.

Define hazard levels

Define different hazard criteria and qualitative hazard classification (like low, medium, high, etc.) and their acceptance level on the basis of risk owner perception.

What can you use to know that?



Example of flood hazard maps for surface traffic for synthetic project storms of 10 years related to Baseline (a) and BAU scenarios (b).

of the effects produced by pluvial flood on the surface transport system
in Barcelona for current (Baseline) and future (BAU) scenarios.

Strategic urban services modelling experts:

Several RESCCUE partners worked together under the leadership of Aquatec-SUEZ Advanced Solutions to assess multiple climate related hazards for Barcelona, Lisbon and Bristol:

– Aquatec-SUEZ Advanced Solutions
– FIC (Climate Research Foundation)
– Cetaqua (Water Technology Centre)
– IREC (Institut de Recerca En Energía de Catalunya) – The University of Exeter
– LNEC (Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil)
– EDP Distrubuiçao (Energias de Portugal)
– Ajuntament de Barcelona
– Câmara Municipal de Lisboa
– Bristol City Council
– Wessex Water

Aquatec-SUEZ Advanced Solutions was responsible for developing the overall methodological framework that was then tested and applied to all the three cities.

Aquatec-SUEZ Advanced Solutions, with the support of other RESCCUE experts, provided advanced guidances in flood analysis, hazard assessment and multiple model integrations linking flooding models
to other strategic urban services model like traffic, waste collection or electricity, linking urban drainage and marine model for water quality assessment. and providing accurate ouputs for social and economic flood damage assessment.

Aquatec-SUEZ Advanced Solutions continuously participates in different international projects related to climate change adaptation, urban resilience, risk assessment and socio-economic analysis in the field of water management.

Expert contact info:

AQUATEC – SUEZ Advanced Solutions
Beniamino Russo, PhD ( Ángel Villanueva ( Ciutat de l’Aigua
Ps. Zona Franca 46-48 – Edificio L
08038 Barcelona

Tools & Results


Assessment of marine model impacts

Strategic urban services modelling


Integrated urban drainage – marine model provided temporal and spatial evolution of pollution in receiving bathing water. Dataset is built with time series of rainfall, CSO discharges and pollution in representative points of bathing water during the characteristic bathing season of the year 2009.


Sea level rise impact model

Strategic urban services modelling


Critical infrastructures and services potentially exposed to sea level rise for the horizon of 2100 have been represented by exposure maps for RCPs 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios.


Integrated flooding – traffic simulations in Bristol

Strategic urban services modelling


This dataset is built on utilising flood hazard data coupled with road network information as a means of modifying speed limit parameters of inundated roads within a micro-scale traffic model. For the Bristol case study the Open Source traffic modelling software SUMO (Simulating Urban Mobility) tool was applied ( For comparative analysis, simulations under various flooded conditions are compared against dry weather conditions.


Integrated flooding – traffic simulations in Barcelona

Strategic urban services modelling


According to the integrated flooding-traffic model in Barcelona, flood hazard maps were obtained by GIS spatial analysis of the flooded road links (with specific rules applied in relation to traffic speed reductions) and by flow depths provided by 1D/2D hydrodynamic model. Moreover, the dataset is built on the results of TranscCAD modelling software that, on the basis of pre-calculated hazard maps, was used to simulate the flood economic impacts due to traffic disruption. Simulations were carried out for current and future scenarios (including Business as usual and Adaptation scenarios).


Flood hazard assessment in Barcelona, Lisbon, Bristol

Strategic urban services modelling


The outputs of the hydrodynamic model (flood extension, flood depths and velocities) were used to generate flood hazard maps for pedestrian and vehicles according to experimental hazard criteria. Simulations were performed for different return periods related to current and future scenarios (including Business as usual and Adaptation scenarios) obtaining a specific hazard map for each case.