mambrettiProf Stefano Mambretti from Politecnico di Milano, Italy visited WIT and presented a short course entitled ‘Floods and Debris Flow’.

Floods and debris flows are among the most destructive of all water related processes. They affect both rural and urban areas in a wide range of morphoclimatic environments and in recent years have attracted more and more attention from the scientific and professional communities and concern from the public due to the death toll they claim. The increased frequency of these natural hazards, coupled with climatic change predictions and urban development, suggests that they are set to worsen in the future.

The objectives of the course were:

  • to provide a basic understanding of floods and debris flows using the most advanced and up-to-date methodologies available nowadays;
  • to improve the capabilities for modelling debris and water floods in both rural and urban environments;
  • to develop hazard maps based on model results;
  • to assess risk and design prevention and mitigation measures;
  • to use state-of-the-art mathematical models.

Participants gained a broad overview of global water related disasters, including risk assessment, development of hazard maps and the design of prevention and mitigation measures.

Over a period of three days lectures covered the following topics :

  • Fundamentals of debris and hyper-concentrated flows
  • Fundamentals of water floods
  • Mathematical and numerical models for flood and debris flow routing
  • Risk assessment and hazard map methodology
  • Case studies
  • Use state-of-the-art mathematical models.

A workshop which aimed to introduce a computer model for flood propagation was held on the last day of the course, when the attendees participated in building a mathematical model of a river reach and simulated its behaviour in different conditions, learning to deal with the parameters that could be significant for a better understanding of the quality of the results and for a successful design of a hazard map.

Stefano Mambretti is Associate Professor of Hydraulics at the Faculty of Engineering of the Politecnico di Milano. He graduated in Civil Engineering at the Politecnico in 1991 (winning the “Noseda prize” as best graduate in Hydraulics that year) and was awarded a PhD in Hydraulic Engineering in 1995. In 1997 he was appointed as Vice Chief of Public Works in an important municipality, in 1999 he became Assistant Professor in Hydraulics, and in 2003 he was appointed Associate Professor. Stefano also worked as a private consultant, for a number of projects in urban infrastructures in Djibouti, Kuwait, Algeria, Tanzania, Iraq, gaining renowned expertise, mainly in the field of waterhammer. Stefano is the author of 66 publications (peer-reviewed scientific papers, key-note lectures, books, and technical reports) in the areas of water phenomena, as urban infrastructures (sewer and water distribution systems), fluid dynamics and rheology of debris and hyper-concentrated flows, water resources use and management, using both advanced laboratory and field observation techniques and mathematical simulation models.