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Floodway Analysis in a Two-Dimensional Flood Routing Model

The purpose of floodway concept is to reserve an unobstructed area of flood conveyance


passage while allowing for potential utilization of the floodplain. Floodway boundaries are
designed to accommodate a 100-yr flood within acceptable limits. The floodplain areas that can
be eliminated from potential flood storage without violating the floodway criteria can be
considered for potential development. The general guidelines for floodway delineation are:

The floodway is based on the 100-yr flood.


The floodplain is divided into floodway and floodway fringe zones. It is generally
assumed that all the flood conveyance in the floodway fringe is eliminated.
The floodway will pass the 100-yr flood without raising the water surface elevation more
than 1 ft above the maximum floodplain water surface.
The floodway is determined by means of equal reduction of conveyance on both sides of
the channel.

The general procedure to delineate a floodway in HEC-RAS is to apply encroachment conditions


using one or more of the encroachment options and make reasonable adjustments until
acceptable results are obtained both from a flood hydraulics standpoint and from a floodplain
management perspective. Floodway determination is difficult on streams with a mild slope and
large floodplain, on rivers with split flow or levee overflow, on alluvial fans with unconfined
flooding and mobile boundaries, on high velocity channels and in developed floodplain areas
with ineffective flow areas. One of primary concerns is that the floodway encroachment
procedure using HEC-RAS ignores the effects of floodwave attenuation and potential increase in
water surface elevation in the downstream floodway fringe zone. Physically constricting the
conveyance flow area with a floodway would have the effect of forcing more flood volume
downstream. Using a single discharge model to delineate a floodway can underestimate the
potential impacts of increased downstream flooding resulting from permitting encroachment on
the upstream floodplain.
A floodway routine has been implemented into the FLO-2D model. Since FLO-2D is a
flood routing model, the floodway component can address all the problems associated with the
HEC-RAS floodway encroachment scheme. The procedure for identifying the floodway in
FLO-2D is automated. First it is necessary to complete a FLO-2D model project simulation to
define the water surface for the existing conditions. An output file (FLOODWAY.OUT) is
generated that lists the maximum water surface elevations for each floodplain grid element. For
the floodway analysis, the user sets the floodway switch to on and assigns the encroachment
depth (typically 1 ft). The FLO-2D project model is then re-run. The model will add the
encroachment depth to the maximum water surface elevation in the FLOODWAY.OUT file to
compute an encroachment water surface elevation for a given grid element that must be exceeded
in order for the model to exchange the discharge with other grid elements. As the overbank
flooding ensues, the model confines the flood to those floodplain grid elements whose
encroachment water surface elevation is not exceeded. This forces more water volume
downstream increasing floodplain inundation in response to the upstream confined floodway
conveyance. The result is a mapped area of the floodway and floodway fringe that reflects the
redistribution of the flood volume.