15 Jun 2023
 | 15 Jun 2023

Using integrated hydrological-hydraulic modelling and global data sources to analyse the February 2023 floods in the Umbeluzi catchment (Mozambique)

Luis Cea, Manuel Álvarez, and Jerónimo Puertas

Abstract. On 9–13 February 2023 an intense flood event took place in the province of Maputo (Mozambique), resulting in severe damage to agricultural lands and transport infrastructure, and with serious consequences for the population. In the district of Boane, located a few kilometres downstream of the Pequenos Libombos dam, the flood destroyed many food crops as well as two bridges linking the district to Maputo, thus affecting the food security of the population. These events are quite frequent in this region, making necessary the delineation of improved flood hazard maps and the development of new flood risk management plans. We reproduce this flood event with a high resolution integrated hydrologic-hydraulic model fed with freely available global data sources, using a methodology that can be easily reproduced in other data-scarce regions. The model results are validated with observed estimations of the inflow to the Pequenos Libombos reservoir, with water marks left by the flood in the district of Boane, and with a Sentinel-1 image taken during the recession of the flood. We analyse the effect of the Pequenos Libombos reservoir on the flood hazard, which was subject to debate amongst the affected population and in the media. The results obtained show that integrated hydrologic-hydraulic models based on the two-dimensional shallow water equations, combined with global databases, are currently able to reliably reproduce extreme flood events in data-scarce basins, and are therefore very useful tools for the development of flood management plans in these regions.

Luis Cea et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1003', Alessio Radice, 28 Jun 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Luis Cea, 11 Jul 2023
      • CC2: 'Reply on AC1', Alessio Radice, 12 Jul 2023
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1003', Alessio Radice, 14 Jul 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Luis Cea, 12 Sep 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1003', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Aug 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Luis Cea, 22 Sep 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1003', Anonymous Referee #3, 11 Aug 2023
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC3', Luis Cea, 22 Sep 2023

Luis Cea et al.

Luis Cea et al.


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Short summary
Mozambique is highly exposed to the impact of floods. To reduce flood damage, it is necessary to develop mitigation measures. Hydrological software is a very useful tool for that purpose, since it allows a precise quantification of flood hazard under different scenarios. We present a methodology to quantify flood hazard in data scarce regions, using freely available data and software, and we show its potential by analysing the flood event that took place in the Umbeluzi basin in February 2023.