Based on computer simulations, WUI experts develop predictive models to evaluate water environments in urban areas. Using these simulation models and future projections, future water environment are evaluated (e.g. risk of flooding in urban areas, water quality, and human health risks due to flooding) under various scenarios. These scenarios include projected changes in population and land use as well as planned or ongoing construction of flood management and water treatment facilities.
Water Quality Model
Urban areas attract people from surrounding areas due to the higher economic and living standards. The rapid population growth increases the amount of municipal sewage discharged into the water environment, which causes the urban water quality to deteriorate. WUI researchers develop predictive models for urban water quality (e.g. rivers, canals) using simulation modelling software. The models visualize future wastewater generation and indicate where appropriate countermeasures are needed.
Flood Inundation Model
Many Southeast Asian megacities, especially those in coastal areas, are prone to urban flooding caused by short-term heavy rain that overwhelms drainage systems. Rapid urbanization with insufficient drainage systems and increased extreme weather events both increase the risk of urban flooding. To evaluate the current and future capacity of drainage systems to protect against urban flooding, WUI experts develop hydrological models to simulate urban floods in eight selected cities. The model visualize future flood-prone areas that will require enhanced flood management systems.
Health Risk Assessment Model
Urban flooding and heavy rainfall are often associated with waterborne infectious diseases. Flooding causes municipal wastewater to overflow from urban sewerage, septic tanks, and latrines, all of which contain pathogenic microorganisms. As the risks of diseases caused by pathogens in floodwater have not been well documented, WUI researchers are developing numerical simulation models for selected cities to evaluate health risks using the quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) framework. Target pathogens are selected based on their importance in the study areas and the availability of data. Scenarios for different levels of inundation are developed in order to simulate and analyse exposure to waterborne pathogens and the risks of contracting diseases due to incidental ingestion of floodwater. Health risk maps generated under different scenarios aim to provide useful guidance for local policymakers and urban planning.