Local Government Magazine
Technical Briefings

Applying Agile Process Management to Flood Hazard Modelling

The following paper, ‘Applying Agile Process Management to Flood Hazard Modelling’, was presented at Water New Zealand’s 2017 Stormwater Conference. By Lisa Dowson (Auckland Council) & Ajay Desai (Tonkin + Taylor).

Fast model builds are essential if Auckland Council is to keep pace with rapidly developing greenfield areas and adequately plan stormwater infrastructure in catchments like the Hingaia Stream.
With no detailed catchment model available for the Hingaia Stream catchment, Auckland Council applied Agile Process Management techniques to develop a Flood Hazard Model (FHM) that would service both the needs of the developer and council planners for a Plan Change Variation in just seven weeks.
Council’s flood planning team leveraged off their Modelling Project Office to use multiple consultants and council modellers to develop a fast and detailed 1D-2D coupled catchment model, utilising the latest LiDAR data. Agile software development techniques were applied to the Hingaia Stream catchment model build.
Agile Process Management refers to a toolbox of software development methodologies that are based on iterative processes and parallel workstreams.
This approach to model development enables solutions to evolve quickly and concurrently throughout the development process rather than being planned upfront and amended late as with a traditional approach.
Many of the risks associated with the traditional model build process are minimised through this approach.
The FHM is suitable for Plan Change purposes and testing gross landform changes. The FHM model also provides the platform for subsequent model refinement for flood hazard mapping.
The Agile Management approach demonstrates that fit for purpose model builds can be achieved within significantly shorter timeframes and in a manner that provides better value to Auckland ratepayers, whilst maintaining quality.
These achievements help to meet the city’s objectives relating to enabling growth and helping making Auckland the world’s most liveable city.
In summary, by using Agile, Auckland Council achieved:

  • A fit for purpose model in a short time frame.
  • A new model build and review tools that will be usable on other model builds.
  • An outcome-focused collaborative working environment.

This article was first published in the July 2017 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.

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