River Flow 2020

The 10th International Conference in Fluvial Hydraulics, organized by TU Delft, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Deltares and Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands), together with the International Association for Hydro- Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) and the Netherlands Centre for River Studies (NCR), has been held from the 7th to the 10th of July.

Researchers from water-related disciplines like Hydraulics, Morphodynamics, Ecology and Integral approaches presented their work digitally, and the contents were exceptionally available for the attendees to discuss upon until the 17th of July due to the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Among the varied topics in fluid mechanics, river monitoring, extreme events and rivers under pressure, few studies focused on optimized numerical modelling techniques, as well as visualization and flood risk communication.

Adina presented the “Current trends in the optimization of hydraulic flood simulations in ungauged steep rivers” in the session “Numerical Modelling – Applications”. Her presentation (available here) summarized few optimization techniques nowadays applied to the the hydraulic analysis of floods and addressed their advantages and limitations when applied to steep rivers where historical hydrologic data is seldom available.

Alongside with the different thematic sessions arranged, young researchers were given the opportunity to present and discuss varied topics in masterclasses arranged by experienced researchers. For instance, Adina participated on the 6th of July in the masterclass “The Digital River”, organized by Enrica Viparelli (University of South Carolina) and Ioana Popescu (IHE Delft).

The Digital River masterclass, held during River Flow 2020 (Photo: E. Viparelli)

The conference program had other highlights, such as an e-social gathering and keynote lectures in “Future generations fighting climate change” (Gabriela Eslava Bejarano, Columbia University, USA), “Rivers Dynamics in Regions of Rapid Climate Change” (Irina Overeem, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA) and “When a tree falls in a river… a cascade process begins” (Virginia Ruiz-Villanueva, University of Lausanne, Switzerland).


22nd Northern Research Basins conference (Yellowknife, Canada)

The 22nd Northern Research Basins Symposium/Workshop was held in Yellowknife, Canada (by the Great Slave lake, one of the 10 largest fresh water lakes on the planet), from August 18th to August 24th 2019. There, Oddbjørn (project leader) and Adina (work package 2) presented their research regarding hydrology and hydraulics of flash floods in steep rivers.

Oddbjørn’s presentation was titled “Extreme flood in small steep catchments: how extreme can it become?” and covered the complex hydrology around the flood event that affected his hometown, Utvik, exactly two years ago, in July 2017. Also, several recent flood events affecting the southwest of Norway were presented. The take-home message was that these events are more extreme and more recurring than ever as northern regions are suffering a global warming trend. Adina’s presentation, on the other hand, tackled a virtual experiment on “River idealization for identification of critical locations in steep rivers using 2D hydrodynamic modelling and GIS“. This allows correlating hydrologic and topographic parameters to sensitive areas worth focusing on during more detailed studies (such as channel bends) without the interference of case-specific conditions. The study is time and cost-saving oriented, aiming at optimizing flood risk analysis.

A pannel of discussion was organized on the last two days, which led to very enriching and insightful discussion regarding how to better collaborate and achieve synergies among local field knowledge and the scientific community. Attendees were indigenous experts, the scientists presenting during the conference and the local pannelists invited.

The conference agenda included social activities, such as a boat trip to visit the indigenous Dene community nearby, learn about their traditions and how to use natural and forest resources and appreciate what nature has to offer. We got the chance to go on a guided tour around artsy Yellowknife, always accompanied by live fiddle music. Lastly, a banquet was held and a visit to Scotty creek closed the conference on Saturday.