RETRACTED ARTICLE: Estimation of flood environmental effects using flood zone mapping techniques in Halilrood Kerman, Iran
© Mirbagheri et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2014
Received: 29 December 2013
Accepted: 14 December 2014
Published: 27 December 2014
High flood occurrences with large environmental damages have a growing trend in Iran. Dynamic movements of water during a flood cause different environmental damages in geographical areas with different characteristics such as topographic conditions. In general, environmental effects and damages caused by a flood in an area can be investigated from different points of view. The current essay is aiming at detecting environmental effects of flood occurrences in Halilrood catchment area of Kerman province in Iran using flood zone mapping techniques. The intended flood zone map was introduced in four steps. Steps 1 to 3 pave the way to calculate and estimate flood zone map in the understudy area while step 4 determines the estimation of environmental effects of flood occurrence. Based on our studies, wide range of accuracy for estimating the environmental effects of flood occurrence was introduced by using of flood zone mapping techniques. Moreover, it was identified that the existence of Jiroft dam in the study area can decrease flood zone from 260 hectares to 225 hectares and also it can decrease 20% of flood peak intensity. As a result, 14% of flood zone in the study area can be saved environmentally.
KeywordsCatchment area Environmental damages HEC-HMS HEC-RAS GIS Jiroft dam
The reports of floods in different parts of the world reveal the same scenario of enormous environmental and economic damages and human death for decades ,. At riversides, floodplain areas are more subjected to possible flood events. From one hand, extensive volume of runoff increases the magnitude of overflow. From another hand, previous studies have shown that sedimentation due to flood occurrence decreases the main river bed ,. In many ephemeral streams, high concentrations of suspended sediments are commonly observed -. They can be as much as 200,000 ppm weighing (9% by volume) leading to hyper concentrated flows conditions (generally from 1 to 25%) .
Because of geological characteristics in Iran, there is a high probability of flood and it also has the capacity to transmit mud and sediments. For the sake of this reason, floods often make extensive damages in Iran. Flood occurrence, much the same one happened in Halilrood catchment area in 1992 brings about remarkable environmental effects such as sediment transmission in addition to financial and severe damages. To examine the effects of damages caused by flood in the regions adjacent to river consisting of agricultural lands, woods and structures, models were performed, which finally introduce flood zone in the area. It is possible to classify environmental effects of floods at the regions adjacent to the river with the aid of flood zone map. By considering flood dangers, development of regions adjacent to the river can be anticipated. Flood map, often referred to as "flood risk" or "hazard map", presented in a graphical format of the areas of land or property that have been flooded long ago or are considered to be at risk of flooding ,. The maps can display a range of parameters and different types of information, such as flows, water levels, depths, etc.
Hydrologic engineering center-hydrologic modeling system (HEC-HMS) model was developed by the U.S. army corps of engineers that could be applied in many hydrological simulations . The HEC-HMS model can be applied to analyze urban flooding, flood warning system planning, flood frequency, stream restoration, reservoir spillway capacity, etc. . The HEC-HMS contains four main components including: (1) An analytical model to calculate overland flow runoff as well as channel routing, (2) an advanced graphical user interface illustrating hydrologic system components with interactive features, (3) a system for storing and managing data, specifically large, time variable data sets, and (4) a means for displaying and reporting model outputs ,. Hydrologic engineering center-river analysis system (HEC-RAS), which was developed by the U.S. army corps of engineers, has been applied extensively in calculating the hydraulic characteristics of rivers . HEC-RAS calculates one-dimensional steady and unsteady flows, and the model equations are also described by Harriett and Bates . To execute the model, details of cross sections of the river and upstream flow rate are required. Using the energy conservation equation, the velocity and water depth of the given cross section are figured out . The development of the present flood model integrates geographic information system (GIS) with the HEC-HMS rainfall–runoff model and the HEC-RAS river hydraulic model .
Numerous past studies have shown that these models direct accurate and useful results in flood related studies -. Liu and Zhao established a hydrological information system using GIS, hydrological modeling system and hydrological parameters of the catchment area such as hydraulic group of soil, concentration time and runoff coefficient . The hydrological information system was utilized to manage of runoff and rainfall models at the area. They specified that accuracy of hydrological models based on data from GIS, is remarkable and practical in flood management so that reliable results can be obtained ,. Knebl et al. have developed a framework for regional scale flood modeling that integrates radar-based rainfall estimation using next generation radar (NEXRAD) Level III rainfall, GIS, and a hydrological model (HEC-HMS/RAS) . The model consisted of a rainfall–runoff model (HEC-HMS) that converted precipitation excess to overland flow and channel runoff, as well as a hydraulic model (HEC-RAS) that models unsteady state flow through the river channel network based on the HEC-HMS-derived hydrographs. The modeling framework presented in this study incorporated a portion of the recently developed GIS tool named map to map. The results indicated that this research will benefit future modeling efforts by providing a tool for hydrological forecasts of flooding on a regional scale. While designed for the San Antonio River Basin, this regional scale model can be used as a prototype for model applications in other areas of the country .
The current research was an effort to develop flood zone maps to accurately estimate the flood environmental effects in Halilrood catchment area of Kerman province, Iran. The flood zone map for the considered area was developed in four steps. The first to third steps were bases to calculate and estimate the flood zone map in the intended area. The environmental effects of flood occurrence for the considered area were estimated based on the output (flood zone) of the forth step. The study at Halilrood catchment area aimed to determine flood zone, witch the zone obtained with the aid of Arc GIS 9.3, HEC-HMS 3.3, HEC-RAS 3.1.3, ArcView 9.x software, HEC-GeoHMS 4.2.92 and HEC-GeoRAS 4.1.1 software. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first effort utilizing flood zone maps to accurately estimate flood environmental effects.
Materials and methods
To identify an area's flood risk, flood insurance studies are developed . These studies include statistical data for river flow, storm tides, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses, and rainfall and topographic surveys. This data is practiced to create the flood hazard maps or flood zone maps that outline an area's different flood risks. These digital flood zone maps provide an official depiction of flood hazards for each area and for properties located within it. These zone maps cannot be used for flood insurance purposes, but they will show the boundaries of flooded areas for the 1% of annual chance (100-year) and 0.2% of annual chance (500-year) floods. There is a possibility of river floods in large catchment areas due to long duration rainfalls. The river floods predominantly taking place at mountainous regions and have discharged with high peak and low based time. A characteristic of a river flood in large catchment in semi-arid areas is its intense dissipation along the main river. Sometimes by extending rainfall over the area, large flood occurrences can be imagined, which cause irreparable financial and serious damages, especially at floodplain areas. The main purpose of this research is to evaluate environmental damages caused by floods using flood zone maps. We carry out the evaluation of governing conditions in flood occurrence and its flood zone in a large catchment located at semi-arid area. Natural and artificial dams upset stream flow regime by trapping sediment and impeding the flow of water. According to the extensive literature on the geomorphic effects of reservoirs, following adjustments can be expected following river impoundment: decreases in peak flows, bed load discharge, width and bank full cross-sectional area, floodplain zone; increases or decreases in depth, gradient and sinuosity . According to the fact that dam affects flood zone map, effect of storage reservoir on the river discharge during flood event and flood zone map has been regarded in this research. The impacts of changes in catchment area and rainfall pattern have also come into consideration. Studying Halilrood catchment area aiming to determine flood zone has been performed with the aid of Arc GIS 9.3, HEC-HMS 3.3, HEC-RAS 3.1.3, ArcView 9.x software, HEC-GeoHMS 4.2.92 and HEC-GeoRAS 4.1.1 software. These studies have been directed to recognize damages at different regions when possible floods occur and we can take necessary actions to decrease the environmental damages of flood occurrences at the area.
Case study area
Selected physiographical characteristics of the study area
Length of equivalent rectangular (km)
Width of equivalent rectangular (km)
Length of main waterway (km)
Average elevation (m)
Maximum elevation (m)
Minimum elevation (m)
Concentration time (h)
By development of new technologies, available methods to prepare flood zone maps require using of more efficient tools. From one point, new and developed mathematical models give extensive facilities to more precise analysis of flood, and in another aspect, they have many abilities to make flood zone maps and display them with the aid of GIS . By using GIS and a hydrological model, it is possible to apply probable scenarios, perform and update maps simply with spending much less time and money. Such a system gives remarkable abilities to practitioners for management of floodplain areas before flood occurrence, disaster management when flood occurs, reconstruction after flood occurrence.
On-line accessible topographic datasets potentially useful for flood inundation modeling
V.A. RMSE (m)
USA and HI
USA and HI, PR,VI
USA and territories
Global: 56 S – 60 N
North Carolina LiDAR
NOAA CSC IfSAR
NOAA CSC LiDAR
Where P is amount of precipitation and expressed in cm, Iα is the primary losses and in cm, Qd is runoff height over the area in cm, and S is maximum storage capacity of whole catchment including all types of retention in cm. In the equation (2) to determine CN, it is essential to estimate hydrological conditions of the catchment area.
Where QP is maximum discharge in m3/s, TP is time of reaching to peak runoff in h, A is catchment area in km, Qd is runoff height over the area in cm, D is duration of the flow in h, and TL is time lag in h.
Generation of data base
Rainfall depth according to gauging stations in Halilrood catchment area
Rainfall depth (mm)
Rainfall depth (mm)
CN and lag time of the subwatersheds after model calibration
Sub watershed code
Lag time (min)
Determination of Manning roughness coefficient for the study area
Final manning coefficient
Degree of coefficient of curvature of river (m)
Changes of section
Unevenness degree at the bed surface
Processing of data and preparing of flood zone map
By remarking simulated model of the river flow and verifying of the results, the results of flow zone and width of inundation are used in ArcView 9.x in order to determine the flood zone map. This software, by considering of given data develop a topographic model from water level and then by comparison of water level topography with ground topography flood zone map is prepared for the Halilrood catchment area.
Analytical methods and data collection
Where pHS is saturation pH and pH is equal to pH value.
Temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total suspended solids (TSS), total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations as well as Copper (Cu) and Iron (Fe) were measured in this study. The pH and temperature were measured using a digital pH meter. A dissolved oxygen meter (YSI 5000) was utilized to determine DO. Biodegradability was measured by 5-day BOD5 test according to the standard methods . The seed for BOD5 test was obtained from the Halilrood catchment area . COD was determined according to the standard methods . In the wastewater treatment plant laboratory, Cu and Fe were measured using a spectrophotometer (the Hach DR 5000 UV-Vis Laboratory Spectrophotometer). The past recorded data related to flood occurrence in Halilrood catchment area in 1992 were obtained from Iran environmental protection agency and other local organizations in the Kerman province.
Results and discussion
Modeling outcomes and Jiroft dam effects
Flood environmental effects on groundwater
Variations of nutrient, bacteria, and macrofauna dynamics in Halilrood river underlined the importance of flood events in ground water especially concerning numbers of active bacteria . Studies on bacterial communities in sediment show positive correlations of bacteria numbers with organic matter content and oxygen values . Although this phenomenon supporting groundwater and decreasing water hardness, which assumed as a positive effect, sediments in a long time period decrease the correlation between reservoir and ground water connection and at last slow down the supporting of ground water. In addition, after flood occurrence ground water level comes up and humidity of the soil increases then during sunny days evaporation of the water increases and causes salt appears at the upper layers of soil. Salty soil affects plants, destroys natural vegetables, decreases value of habitants and disrupts food chain at the area. Furthermore, another environmental effect observed after flood event in the catchment area is the necessity to more drainage of agricultural lands due to rising of ground water level. This issue increases the agricultural wastewater and results in pollution of water by fertilizers and other inorganic materials. It was observed that the agricultural land around river banks endanger by flood flow and according to our calculations of flood zone map more than 60 percent of land goes under water can produce agricultural wastewater, which is a noticeable environmentally.
Flood effects on wildlife and aquatic
Abundance of water during and after flood occurrence affects wildlife and ecology of the river. Based on the findings of the Iran environmental protection agency some of the animals and organisms cannot acclimatize themselves with new conditions after flood event in the Kerman province, therefore their life is impressed easily. Regarding to the flood zone map calculations in the study area approximately 17 km2 of land can be sunk during flood event. This matter affects the lives of some animals near the Halilrood catchment area and threatens their habitats therefore, their life is endangered by new conditions. The reduction of breeding is taken place because these animals lose their habitats. Furthermore, the diversity of environmental and geographical conditions of Kerman province can exacerbate the flood effects on wildlife of the Halilrood catchment area. The most endangered mammals are foxes, jackals, hyenas, wild cats and caracals. The Iran environmental protection agency found that the population of wolves, foxes, and jackals decreased by 30%, 25% and 35%, respectively due to lose of habitants and severe environmental conditions after flood event in 1992 in Halilrood catchment area. The Iran environmental protection agency considered 5% of the Kerman province as protected areas in order to restore the habitats of these mammals after 1992.
Flood environmental effects on plants
Flood environmental effects on surface water quality
Flood environmental effects on surface water quality for villages in and out of the flood zone
Value in flood zone
Value out of flood zone
Ratio of changes (in zone/out of zone)
Water quality based on LSI and RI for selected stations in the study area
Water quality based on LSI
Water quality based on RI
slightly scale forming and corrosive
scale forming but non corrosive
scale forming but non corrosive
Flood effects on fishes
Flood and dam effects on archaeological sites
Dam and flood have some effects on archaeological sites in the study area and on the other hand, they are endangered after flood occurrence indirectly. According to our flood zone map there are some archaeological sites, which we can refer to Eart's ancient city, Baft national park, Cheshme Aroos of Rabor, 5000 years old sycamore of Cheshme Aroos village, Kenar Sandal area at the adjacent to Halilrood River as most important historical monuments in the area. Along 400 km of the Halilrood River about 120 ancient area have been found which flood occurrence is one of the most threats to them. The Eart's ancient city, which is located under the ground and a part of it was destroyed simultaneously because of the intensity of flood at the area in 1992 and degree of soil erosion. Materials used in construction of historical monument are from brick, clay wall and stone, which are prone to erosion by explosion of the water. Beside these archaeological sites, which are situated near the river are endangered by land sliding. Sediment transmission and other damages are indirect effects of flood occurrence.
Effects on flood vicinity and environmental health
Environmental public health is concerned with aspects of the natural and built environment that may affect human health. Major floods pose great risk for everyone in the flooding vicinity . Particularly high flooding often claims the lives of drowning victims. If people and animals residing in the flooded area cannot get to food, medications or treatments to survive, more lives can be lost. The physical damage done to buildings and cars often claims the lives of people and animals may be trapped during the disaster. The injured may not get to hospitals. The lack of clean drinking water to flood victims can cause illness. When water remains in a place like a pond or a pool for a long time and is immovable, viruses result from statgnated water such as shistozomaise increase their activities and have destructive effects on the people, other organisms and somewhat on the environment of the area. By considering the weather of the area and according to flood zone map many of these ponds are formed after flood occurrence, therefore they cover about 15 km2 of the study area and their effects would be noticeable on the area environmentally. The analysis of data obtained from Iran environmental agency and local organization in Kerman province combined with the results of flood zone map in our study area showed that the flood environmental health effects should be considered carefully. Based on our flood zone map, analysis of past recorded data for the study area and the formation of statgnated water and activities of viruses such as shistozomaise as well as bad quality of drinking water more than 100 people die because of these environmental health problems when flood occurs.
Flood effects on soil characteristics
Proportions of soil textures and hydrological groups of soil with and without Jiroft dam
With dam (%)
Without dam (%)
Clay loam (CL)
Sandy loam (SL)
Silty clay loam (SiCL)
Sandy clay loam (SCL)
No texture (0)
The environmental effects of flooding can be pretty wide-ranging, from the dispersion of low-level household wastes to the fluvial system to contamination of community water supplies and wildlife habitats with extremely toxic substances. On the other hand, flood preparedness activities, such as forecasting and warning systems, can help avoid some of these impacts. Therefore, environmental evaluation of the flood hazard sets the stage for the strategic assessment of redeveloping flood prone areas. Specifically, recurring losses and negative intrusions into environmental systems could be avoided, or at least minimized, by identifying, measuring, and interpreting the magnitude and significance of environmental impacts associated with flooding. Flood zone mapping can be used as a new technique to assess environmental damages caused by flood occurrence in the region. In our case study by using flood zone mapping technique many advantages have been achieved by determination of flood effects, degree and intensity of probable damages. Furthermore, it has much efficiency in floodplain area management and flood controlling to reduce flood environmental damages.
The results of flood zone mapping indicated that the existence of Jiroft dam in study area can decrease flood zone from 260 hectares to 225 hectares and also it decreases 20% of flood peak intensity, therefore 14% of flood zone can be saved environmentally. It was observed that the agricultural lands around the river banks endangered by flood flow. Based on our calculations of flood zone map more than 60 percent of land goes under water can produce agricultural wastewater, which is a noticeable environmentally. Sinking of land affects the lives of some animals near the Halilrood catchment area and threatens their habitats when flood occurs. The most endangered mammals are foxes, jackals, hyenas, wild cats and caracals. Decrease of plants on the ground results in the probable negative environmental changes at the study area. Considering flood zone map approximately all orchards, which are near villages around the river are impressed by flood. Accordingly, there is one tree in each 2 m2 therefore flood zone map shows about 12 km2 of the area can be impressed by flood and more than 6000 trees can be damaged and destroyed during flood occurrence. The results indicated that the flood environmental effect on the villages in the flood zone map is more significant than out of flood zone map. Therefore, the intensity of environmental effects of all considered contaminants for villages in flood zone per out of flood zone were greater than 1. Based on the results of LSI and RI for three selected stations in the flood zone, we concluded that the corrosion problems must be regarded and considered because of their importance and their environmental effects on the water quality
The results of our study indicated that the effects of water characteristics such as TSS, DO, pH, temperature and heavy metals are very crucial for the fishes due to high concentrations of these contaminants in the flood zone after flood event. Flood zone mapping showed that at the study area due to formation of statgnated water and activities of viruses such as shistozomaise as well as bad quality of drinking water more than 100 people die because of these environmental health problems when flood occurs. Based on our achievements, the villages around the river banks are threatened by flood seriously. Geological studies indicated that the natural characteristics of the region is in such a way that it can increase run-off volume. We concluded that some remedial works should be conducted by growing the environment like plant trees or vegetables in the region to reduce flood volume.
HEC-HMS: hydrologic engineering center-hydrologic modeling system
HEC-RAS: hydrologic engineering center-river analysis system
GIS: geographic information system
NEXRAD: next generation radar
DEM: digital elevation model
IfSAR: interferometric synthetic aperture radar
H.R.: horizontal resolution
V.A.: vertical accuracy
RMSE: root mean squared error
NED: national elevation data
SRTM: shuttle radar topography mission
LiDAR: light ranging and detection
SCS: conservation service
CN: curve number
WMS: watershed modeling system
LSI: Langelier saturation index
RI: Risener index
DO: dissolved oxygen
BOD: biochemical oxygen demand
COD: chemical oxygen demand
TSS: total suspended solids
TDS: total dissolved solids
PSU: practical salinity unit
u S: units of micro Siemens
CL: clay loam
SL: sandy loam
SiCL: silty clay loam
SCL: sandy clay loam
We wish to thank Mohammad Reza Ghanbari and all people who helped us with the field work. The financial support for this work was provided by the authors.
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