Modelling and Decision Support Framework (MDSF)


The MDSF is the Modelling and Decision Support Framework developed by HR Wallingford, Halcrow, CEH Wallingford and the Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC) for Defra and the Environment Agency. MDSF is a tool to be used by the Environment Agency and consultant staff in the development of Catchment Flood Management Plans (CFMPs), Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) and other flood studies. 

Modelling and Decision Support Framework

 Robust flood risk management planning presents specific challenges:

- What is the existing risk?

- Where are the high and low risk areas?

- Which assets contribute most to risk?

- What are the key drivers of risk (probability and consequences)?

- What is the future risk?


Medium to long-term planning requires consideration of the changing climate and socio-economic context as well as deterioration in flood defence assets. Flood risk managers require risk-based evidence to support their decisions and enable them to choose intervention options which are robust, adaptable and sustainable in the long-term.


The Modelling and Decision Support Framework 2 (MDSF2) is a decision support toolset for quantifying economic and social impacts of flooding and coastal erosion for present day conditions, future scenarios and different flood management options. It integrates information on fluvial and coastal hazards, the physical flood risk system and people and property in the flood plain - to provide a rich picture of the overall flood and coastal erosion risk.


Example outputs include:

- Probability of inundation (or of exceeding a given depth)

- Residual risk in the floodplain expressed as Expected Annual Damages (£)

- Attribution of that residual risk to individual defence lengths

- Expected number of (deprived) people and property exposed to flooding


The MDSF2 builds on the original MDSF, which was designed for catchment scale modelling and has been widely used for flood and erosion risk assessments as part of Catchment Flood Risk Management Plans and Shoreline Management Plans. The MDSF uses a simplified representation of the role of assets and does not properly take account of asset performance, which is a crucial input in understanding and managing 'true' risk. The MDSF2 incorporates an approach based on the Risk Assessment for Strategic Planning (RASP) methodologies that includes probabilistic analysis of assets.

The MDSF2 software and documentation is aimed at Environment Agency staff involved in Flood Risk Management activities (e.g. long-term startegic planning; catchment studies; national, strategic or local flood risk assessments; asset management etc) and consultants on their behalf.