ESRL/PSD Seminar Series

Design Flow Determinations for Water Resources Projects

John Y.D. LiouPhD, PE, CFM
FEMA Regional Senior Hydraulic Engineer (retired)


Water resources projects in U.S. may be grouped roughly into two categories. One is water control; the other is water use and management. This presentation is concentrated on water control, especially related to major water control projects, such as Hydrologic Design Value flow determinations for major dam principal spillways and flood control channel levee systems. The commonly used Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) and Standard Project Flood (SPF), and Frequency-Based 100-year flood flow are discussed. These flood levels are used for designing major flood control structures and the National Dam Safety Program, and the levee system or National Levee Safety Program, respectively. Conventional engineering procedures (e.g. HMR 52) for deriving the PMF and SPF from Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) information, (e.g. HMR 51) are summarized. Procedures for determining the Frequency-Based 100-year flood for the National Levee Safety Program under US Army Corps of Engineers and the Floodplain Management and Flood Insurance Program under Federal Emergency Management Agency are also discussed. The final decision on the actual water control project capacity is determined not only by the Hydrologic Design Value, but it is the most essential one. It is the responsibility of our engineers, planners and scientists to understand the data sources, procedures and associated risks.
Thursday, June 23

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