Robert Bertsch

‌‌‌‌‌Robert Bertsch -


Robert Bertsch personal photo

PhD Title:

Urban Flood Risk Management: Evaluating and Validating Adaption Options through Scenario Modelling


PhD Project Details:

Flood Risk Management (FRM) in urban areas is a complex and challenging area, impacted by a large number of factors.  The anthropogenic transformed environment (buildings, roads, terrain alteration, drainage network etc.) adds to the complexity in terms of the modelling of floods i.e. the generation of data and information required for FRM.  Considering the managerial aspect, challenges arise through different requirements, needs and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved.  Impacts and uncertainties about the future (e.g. urbanisation and climate change) further contribute to the complexity of FRM in urban areas to find sustainable solutions to protect people and properties now and in the future.       


To approach this complexity and working towards the development of mitigation options, we have to consider alternative ways of FRM.  By taking into account both the modelling – through integrated 1D/2D models – and the managerial aspect – through closely working with stakeholders – the aim of this project is to develop a decision making support framework for Scottish Water to assist in the FRM.  As part of the project, specific tools are developed and built around CityCAT (Glenis et al, 2013) which represents the flood modelling software applied.  The tools have the purpose of supporting the pre-simulation, input data preparation and post-simulation analysis and visualisation of outputs produced by CityCAT.  The main environments for developing, testing and presenting the tools are GIS (ArcGIS & QGIS) and Python-based Jupyter notebooks.  By working closely with Scottish Water and other Stakeholders involved, each of the tools is embedded within an industrial-related framework and therefore tested on real world case studies.



Glenis, V., McGough, A.S., Kutija, V., Kilsby, C. & Woodman, S. 2013. ‘Flood Modelling for Cities using Cloud Computing’, Journal of Cloud Computing: Advances, Systems and Applications, 2(7), p.14.


Framework Outline

(Image: Framework outline)




Vassilis Glenis


Professor Chris Kilsby








Scottish Water




Related Outputs:

Bertsch, R., Kutija, V., Glenis, V. and Stenhouse, G. 2014. ‘Urban Flood Risk Management – Evaluating and Validating Adaption Options through Scenario Modelling’, Oral Presentation: FCERM Annual Assembly, 19 June 2014, Edinburgh, Scotland.


Kutija, V., Bertsch, R., Glenis, V., Alderson, D., Parkin, G., Walsh, C.L., Robinson, J. & Kilsby, C. 2014. ‘Model Validation using Crowd-Sourced Data from a Large Pluvial Flood’, 11th International Conference on Hydroinformatics.


Bertsch, R., Kutija, V., Glenis, V. & Stenhouse, G. 2015. ‘2D Surface Flow Modelling: Observation of Cross Catchment Boundary Flow’, Poster Presentation at: 16th IWA UK National Young Water Professionals Conference, 15-17 April 2015, Glasgow, Scotland.


Bertsch, R., Kutija, V., Glenis, V. & Lochhead, D. 2015. ‘Urban Flood Risk Management: Towards a Holistic Approach’, Oral Presentation at: XV IWRA World Water Congress, 25-29 May 2015, Edinburgh, Scotland.


Bertsch, R., Kutija, V., Glenis, V. & Lochhead, D. 2015. ‘Urban Flood Risk Management: Towards a Holistic Approach, Poster Presentation at: FCERM Annual Assembly, 28 May 2015, Edinburgh, Scotland.



After completing a Masters-level degree in Geography at the University of Vienna, Robert moved to Newcastle in 2012 to study the MSc in Hydroinformatics.  In 2013 he then started this four year STREAM-EngD project supervised by Newcastle University and Scottish Water.  Throughout the year Robert is based in Edinburgh with Scottish Water.  This provides a great opportunity to work closely with his industrial supervisory team and test his research directly on real-world scenarios and applications.  He commenced his PhD in October 2013.