Optimal planning of flood defence system reinforcements using a greedy search algorithm

Wouter Jan Klerk*, Wim Kanning, Matthijs Kok, Rogier Wolfert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Climate change and deterioration require a continuous effort to reinforce flood defences and meet reliability requirements. To efficiently upgrade flood defence systems, insight in costs and benefits of measures at a system level is required throughout the process of planning and design. Due to the size of flood defence systems the number of possible decisions is large, which hampers system optimization. We describe a greedy search algorithm that can find (near-)optimal combinations of reinforcement measures for dike segments. The algorithm has been validated by comparing results for 2800 different dike segments to an integer programming implementation. The difference in objective value (Total Cost) is only 0.04% on average, which is small compared to other uncertainties in assessment and design of dike segments. The algorithm is applied to a reinforcement project for a dike segment of 41 independent sections, and compared to the common design practice which uses reliability-based requirements on a section level. It is found that the resulting reinforced dike segment is 42% cheaper to construct than the one obtained from the common approach, based on the same input information. This illustrates the practical and societal value of the design approach using a greedy search algorithm in this context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107344
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Dike
  • Flood defences
  • Greedy search
  • Investment planning
  • Levee
  • Optimization
  • System reliability


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