CH2M HILL’s ISIS software suite for flood risk modelling, mapping and management provides users with flexible and cost-effective tools to help manage challenges and danger of flood risk.

By Alastair Sheppard, CH2M HILL Software Sales Executive and Vijay Jain, CH2M HILL Software Sales Manager

Did you know that CH2M HILL develops a wide range of software solutions to underpin global flood risk management issues? From user-friendly smartphone applications that provide flood warnings to advanced flood modelling and mapping software, CH2M HILL is a leader in the development and application of such tools.

Flooding is becoming an increasing concern for the public and governments throughout the world. It is one of the most devastating forms of natural disasters, seriously impacting societies and infrastructure globally. The dangers associated with flooding are serious. Houses can be destroyed instantly as a result of heavy rain and flooding. Flooding in regions such as China and Bangladesh has left thousands homeless. Tragic events such as the Asian Tsunami (2004) and Hurricane Katrina (2005), saw hundreds of thousands of people lose their lives. In 2010, more than 178 million people worldwide were affected by floods, with total losses exceeding $40 billion in exceptional years such as 1998 and 2010.

Continued government investment in flood risk management is required in order to mitigate these levels of risk. Studies in England and Wales by the the Environment Agency suggest that a steady increase in investment is needed to around £1billion a year (plus inflation) by 2035 for building and maintaining new and existing flood and coastal risk management assets. Flood risk management requires an understanding of where flood are likely to occur now, and in the future, and identification of actions to reduce the impact of flooding without moving the problem elsewhere. It requires the analysis of all sources of flooding, whether from rivers, the sea or from the surface water run-off in our towns and cities.

ISIS Mapper, an analysis and visualisation tool which is provided for free as part of the ISIS suite, is used to represent potential flood risk at the Greenwich Peninsula in London, England

Computational flood modelling plays a big part in flood risk management and has been in use for more than 50 years to inform decision making. During this time there have been significant improvements to these systems as they evolved from standalone simulation codes representing specific rivers, into generic modelling systems combining model building, simulation management and results presentation. Commercially available systems such as ISIS, CH2M HILL’s industry standard software suite for flood risk modelling, mapping and management, provide users with flexible and cost-effective tools to help manage the challenges associated with flood risk. ISIS is used to inform a large range of flood management decisions, including issue of flood warnings, setting design levels for new flood levees, and understanding how plausible ranges in future climates could impact  flood risk.

ISIS 2D represents potential flood risk of a flood plain on a segment of the River Thames in London, England.

ISIS is a globally-used software solution and has been applied to some of the world’s largest, most complex rivers such as the Mekong in South East Asia. It has been in use by the Mekong River Commission for more than 10 years to inform decision makers on the likely impacts of development scenarios in the region. It is also used on the River Thames in England. The Environment Agency use ISIS to inform the operation of the Thames Barrier, London’s main flood defense and one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world which protects 125km2 of London, including over 1million people and over £80bn worth of property and infrastructure. The software has also been utilised on various flood mapping projects, including the broad scale national pluvial flood map for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency which was the first pluvial flood map to cover the whole of Scotland (area: 78,000km2). It is also used by the Philippine government to develop flood risk maps for all river basins and coastal areas in the Philippines.

ISIS provides advanced 1D and 2D simulation solvers, analysis and visualisation tools and an innovative flood inundation FAST solver unlike any other software available, all within one environment. A free version of the software is available to download and enables you to confidently apply it to smaller projects. Future developments, such as a link to the US Environmental Protection Agency Storm Water Management Model are continually being made available and are regularly released at the annual user conference in London.  For additional information, visit

Alastair Sheppard is a Software Sales Executive and Chartered Marketer with the Water Business Group in CH2M HILL’s London office. He works closely with existing clients to manage their ongoing software requirements with regards to new sales, support and maintenance contracts, software licensing and technical training, ensuring to meet their evolving needs. He develops new business accounts throughout the world, working closely with CH2M HILL’s regional teams, with specific emphasis on professionals involved in flood risk management. For additional information on CH2M HILL’s flood risk management software solutions, email him at [email protected] or call him on +44 (0)203 479 8196.

Vijay Jain is a Software Sales Manager and Chartered Marketer with the Water Business Group in CH2M HILL’s London office. He has been with the company for over 11 years. Taking onboard CH2M HILL’s philosophy, he sees it as very important that he only sells our clients software that they require and ensure that it is fit for the purpose client intends to use it for. If you are looking to purchase software, he is happy to visit your office or teleconference with the relevant technical specialists to demo software and answer your questions. For additional information on CH2M HILL’s flood risk management software solutions, email him at [email protected] or call him on +44 (0)203 479 8195.