Risk-based maintenance and inspection of riverine flood defence systems

Wouter jan Klerk*, Vera van Bergeijk, Wim Kanning, Rogier Wolfert, Matthijs Kok

*Corresponding author for this work

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The condition of flood defence revetments is influenced by many different degradation processes such as animal burrowing, rutting and growth of weeds. Many of these processes are shock-based rather than progressive continuous. As shocks can cause a drop in performance, this means that the condition of a revetment can suddenly decrease, meaning that revetments can have significant initial damage at the beginning of a storm. Combined with the limited detection probability of common visual inspections of flood defences, this can have a significant influence on the reliability of flood defence systems, something typically not considered in reliability analysis. In this paper we study the reliability of a flood defence system subject to shock-based degradation. Various maintenance concepts are compared for a case study of a riverine flood defence of 20 kilometres length. This demonstrates that the current maintenance concept is insufficient to satisfy the reliability requirements for failure of the revetment. Overall, the joint influence of degradation and the existing maintenance concept leads to a 20 times higher failure probability estimate compared to a typical assessment without these aspects. Next, we demonstrate that both additional inspections, and targeted interventions to reduce the impact of for instance animal burrowing, can significantly reduce total cost and improve robustness of the considered flood defence system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102406
Number of pages13
JournalStructural safety
Early online date8 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


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