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Hydrodynamic Model Khakovka dam breach

The hours and days after the catastrophic Kakhovka dam break we have been working intensively with Arcadis to build a model in order to gain better insights into the disaster. Our advanced modeling technology allows experts on the ground to anticipate the course of the flood and take proactive measures to mitigate its impact. Using our hydrodynamic model, the arrival times and flow velocities of the flooding could be accurately simulated. This invaluable information can be utilized for assessing flood hazards and formulating effective evacuation plans. When will the water reach specific areas? How intense will the flow be?

We hope that by publishing these insights we can contribute something to the relief operations. You can find the results in our online 3D viewer: Cherson4 (BETA) (tygron.com)

 Explanation for the online 3D viewer can be found here: 

A description of our actions following the event:

June 6 2023:  The Kakhovka dam fails in the morning. Within a few hours after the dam was breached, the first results were available. We were able to validate those immediately based on images from (social) media.

June 8 2023:

Directly from the disaster area, we soon received input from a former Kherson resident, an Environmental Engineer, who shared observations from the field. Our first results turned out to be an underestimation of the flood: the break in the dam quickly had become a lot larger than could be seen on the first TV images. With this input, we were able to continuously validate and run the model with new insights.

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  • The current model shows results 2 days after the breach. We are currently running a second model with 20 days. The breach started 03:00 on June 6th (NL time/GMT+1, Wikipedia). So the new model predicts 18 days into the future. This will give relevant insights in determining measures on a longer term.
  • With the help of Mykola we have kalibrated the model based on geolocations of the border of the flooding (see images). One mayor adjustment to the model was to increase the size of the breach and thus the discharge (now nearly twice as large). This is also more fitting as the breach size has increased in time as the dam continues to be destroyed more (size has increased based aerial photos from aprox 200 tot 550 meters wide.) The model contains realistic breach growth. It grows from from 220 to 550 in one day.
  • We have also increased the “smoothness” of the flood area (increased Manning value) as there is a lot of debris that significantly impacts flow speed and surface resistance.
  • Model is now running for 20 days also which should give us insight in the risk of drying. In this model we also include infiltration.
  • Other insights:
  • Based on the first results drying starts approximately after 7 days based on our model results, but this varies based on the location.
  • Videos have spread of the dam upstream of the Khakovka dam still discharging water through it’s sluice gates. Based on this observation people conclude that the Khakovka dam is unnecessarily exposed to higher discharge resulting in more destruction of the dam. This however is not significant according to our model results. The simulated breach discharge is max 25.000 m3/s. In comparison to the normal Dnieper discharge of 1.600 m3/s this is negligible.

June 9 2023:

The model was updated with a 20-day prediction, providing very high level of detail information on how the situation will be in the areas in the coming days. While the flood peak has subsided, the area will remain flooded, gradually receding over time. Our simulation provides insights into the duration and depth of the water’s presence.

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  • breach growth starts at 200 m and grows more smoothly to 550 m.
  • minor improvements to the legend
  • improved infiltration in the 20 day run. Based on landtype, with 50 cm storage in the soil for the 3 week period. On average the drying starts after 6 to 7 days.

In the coming period, we will work step by step towards more insights and validation of approach and model. We hope that by publishing these insights we can contribute something to the relief operations. In the coming period, we will work step by step towards more insights and validation of approach and model.  

Our modeling capabilities can be a tool for crisis management agencies, enabling them to explore various strategies and scenarios. This includes implementing preventive measures and devising evacuation plans. Additionally, our models can provide accurate estimates of the flood damage.

We are ready to deploy our modeling capabilities along riverfront areas in the coming days and weeks. If assistance is required, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We understand that collaborative efforts from different sources are vital during times of crisis, and we believe our models can significantly contribute to understanding the situation for future analysis.

The model results are based on publicly available data and information, and are validated using news, articles and information directly from the disaster area as described above. However, it remains a modeling study with a certain degree of uncertainty. If you intend to use the results for assistance in the disaster-stricken area, please contact us in advance, and we will gladly explain the uses of the analysis results.

June 11 2023:

More validation material has been processed, such as photos at specific locations and satellite imagery. The results are available in a swipe viewer:

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