Flood defences are one of the most important component of a flood management system. Their reliability ensures the adaptation capability of the system against environmental drivers which are becoming less predictable given climate change. Hence, the rate of deterioration of the water retaining structures is being accelerated by different physical processes which are commonly referred as failure mechanisms. Failure mechanisms are one of the main concerns of designers and managers as these are the ones that may compromise the stability and functionality of the structure. For general cases of conventional flood defenses, the most important failure mechanisms have been studied for a long time in the Netherlands, as the accuracy in their deterioration rate estimation is vital for having long term robust flood defense systems. In the case of Multifunctional flood defences (MFFD’s), the inclusion of additional structures is one of the main goals in the conceptualization of such structures. Nevertheless, any hard structure embedded in soil composed flood defences might change their deterioration rates in unknown ways. In the present Dutch landscape, is common to find complementary functions (roads, embedded structures, longitudinal infrastructure, land development, etc) embedded in the structure itself.
Such structures are located near or inside the flood defences based on conservative design rules. However their effect in the actual probabilistic risk assessment method used in the Netherlands is neglected. This can be explained either due to their insignificant effect when studied deterministic conditions or because their modeling complexity makes them unfeasible to include in the actual probabilistic approach. Either way, most of the recent European large scale flood risk studies such as FloodProbe, Floodsite and VNK2 have concluded that the correct representation of this kind of structural combinations and transitions are an important knowledge gap in the actual flood risk state of the art. The present research aims to develop methodologies for implementing and combining actual numerical advances such as finite element modeling and artificial intelligence in order to quantify the potential change in the failure probability of flood defences when including additional functions such as sewage, transport and housing.