Flash flood depicted in new journal article

The flash flood affecting Utvik in Stryn municipality (western Norway) in summer 2017 was documented on-site and has been studied ever since it occurred. This flash flood devastated Utvik (the hometown of WoWW’s project leader, Oddbjørn Bruland) and was the trigger to initiate the World of Wild Waters project. The extreme hydrologic event was analyzed in a journal article published last year in the international journal Hydrology Research. This article served as basis for a further analysis of the hydraulics during the flash flood, which was carried out in a recent study by Adina and Michal (work package 2). The hydraulic study, titled “The Story of a Steep River: Causes and Effects of the Flash Flood on 24 July 2017 in Western Norway“, is now published in the international journal Water (Switzerland), which is open access.

The hydraulic study assesses the potential causes of the flash flood based on visual documentation (for instance, in the first figure below) and post-event fieldwork (for example, the second figure below). The field observations, combined with soft data (testimonies from eyewitnesses), helped to understand the potential effects of future flash floods in similar mountain rivers. Additionally, the journal article is supplemented by a dataset (publicly available in Zenodo) that can be used in future studies, where the flash flood could be modelled numerically.

Visual documentation of the flash flood in July 2017. Figure from Moraru et al. (2021)

WoWW aims to have a digital twin of the flash flood devastating Utvik. Thus a numerical model of this flash flood might be used for future studies on gamification of natural hazards (work package 4) and risk perception using virtual reality (work package 5). Moreover, the river is continuously monitored with surveillance cameras and instruments that provide the level of the water in real-time. This allows an automatized data collection for future events in Storelva river and also an instantaneous reference of the current condition of the river.

Field visit with master students to Storelva river in Utvik after the flood (autumn 2019) to analyze post-flood restoration measures (© Adina Moraru).

WoWW presented at UN World Water Day 2020

Every nation member of the United Nations (UN) celebrates the World Water Day (designated in 1992 by the UN) to increase global awareness on the importance of water and WoWW was invited to present during the World Water Day held in Oslo, Norway (postponed from March to November 2020 due to the pandemic).

The main topic for the World Water Day in 2020 is Water and Climate Change and the connection between these two (for instance, floods, droughts, storms, water quality and even the spread of water-borne diseases and its effect in tourism). This comes hand in hand with WoWW’s focus on water-derived natural hazards, such as flash floods and quick clay landslides.

The event was organized by UNESCO, The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, The Norwegian Water Association, The Norwegian Hydrological Council, The Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals (Tekna) and The Norwegian Institute for Water Research. The World Water Day included sessions on Global Perspectives: the relationship between water and climate change, Water and Climate Change: what are the students working with?, Water and Climate change: what is happening in Norway?, as well as the Junior Water Price ceremony award.

Adina presented “Serious gaming in the World of Wild Waters project and 3D visualization of floods” during the second session. WoWW’s motivation, project structure and potential applications were shown and exemplified with excerpts of the research carried out to date by all the WoWW modules. Moreover, the project’s current challenges were exposed and public participation and collaboration was encouraged. The presentation was recorded by the organizing committee and it’s available down below.

Adina presenting WoWW for the UN World Water Day 2020 (© The Norwegian Water Association YouTube)

As every year in such occasion, the United Nations has released the “World Water Development Report 2020 – Water and Climate Change” (document available here and live presentation available here). Additionally, the topic selected for World Water Day in 2021 is #Water2Me.