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Saving lives with Türkiye’s National Flood Forecast Early Warning System (TATUS)

Storm, sewer, flood

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Images courtesy of Universal Software Inc.


Türkiye is a beautiful and very topographically diverse country, with mountainous coasts bordered by major bodies of water. Increasingly severe weather events have led to catastrophic flooding in the country, but they aim to stem the tide with a national flood warning system that utilizes InfoWorks ICM and ICM Live to help sound the alarm before disaster strikes. 

Four screenshots of InfoWorks ICM showing water inundation

Flood modeling with InfoWorks ICM.

Risk management instead of crisis management

As Türkiye is situated in the Mediterranean climate zone, it is anticipated to be among the regions most profoundly impacted by the consequences of climate change. There has already been a significant increase in both the severity and consequences of flooding incidents.

The General Directorate of Water Management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has started to work on establishing the National Flood Forecasting and Early Warning System (TATUS) within the understanding of risk management, rather than crisis management, in order to avoid loss of life and to minimize economic losses due to possible floods.

A screenshot of the TATUS flood tracking web app

In addition to InfoWorks ICM, the project includes a web-based TATUS application. 

Predicting rainfall runoff

In this context, the establishment of the system in 15 Pilot Sub-Basins Project was initiated in 2021 under the contractorship of Universal Software Inc., in 15 selected sub-basins from the Eastern Black Sea, Western Black Sea, Antalya, and Eastern Mediterranean basins. The project aims to predict rainfall and runoff that may occur within 72 hours and provide necessary warnings to institutions for preparedness against possible flooding.

The prediction and warning system in question combines hydraulic and hydrological engineering analyses with dynamic meteorological predictions, creating prediction models by integrating various types of data flows and analytical solutions through detailed integrations.



Using InfoWorks ICM + ICM Live to simulate basin behavior flow

Many inputs, analyses, and modeling processes are running in the background of the system, and its advantage lies in its continuous accessibility and user-friendly interactive control panel. Additionally, the system consistently identifies potential flood areas, generates warnings, and records rainfall-related data.

The flood forecasting and early warning system is built upon data and information from a wide range of disciplines such as hydrology, meteorology, surface, and groundwater engineering. Creating accurate predictions is a complex undertaking, requiring the integration of multiple solutions and capabilities to facilitate collaboration, data integration, and visualization.

In order to generate reliable predictions and warnings, in addition to dynamic information about hydraulic structures and fluid mechanics, data from GIS and telemetry systems are also required. 

Beyond data, the system must integrate analytical and computational capabilities, which may include live and static data systems, continuous prediction, verification, and calibration techniques.

Therefore, InfoWorks ICM integrated catchment modeling software was used to develop hydrological and hydrodynamic models within the scope of TATUS developed in Türkiye. ICM Live was used to perform simulations of basin flow and behavior based on three leading weather forecast models (WRF, ECMWF, ALARO). A test of the system found that in a weather event, the predicted flow rate differed from the model-predicted amount by only 3%.

Although floods are due to severe weather conditions, the ability to predict their impact and alert relevant authorities reduces the unpredictability of floods. In this context, efforts to further develop TATUS and disseminate it throughout Türkiye are continuing intensively by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, General Directorate of Water Management.

Main components of TATUS

  • Advanced hydraulic and hydrological studies generated by InfoWorks ICM software
  • Online data collection and integration from dozens of meteorological sources
  • Hourly automated simulations created with 3 different rainfall prediction models managed by ICM Live
  • Web-based custom GIS application developed with simulation outputs and integrations