Flood Estimation Handbook: FEH Web Service

The Flood Estimation Handbook (FEH) and related software provide the industry-standard methods for assessing flood risk in the UK.

Screengrab from Point Data Extraction showing point data coordinates
NEW May 2016: Point Data Extraction

FEH methods are used in the planning and assessment of flood defence schemes, sustainable drainage systems, the design of bridges, culverts and reservoir spillways and the planning of new developments. The original FEH CD-ROM software was updated to the FEH Web Service in November 2015.

NEW! Point source runoff estimation

Access accurate runoff estimates from point sources using the FEH Web Service.

The FEH Web Service is extended in May 2016 with the Point Data Extraction tool which enables drainage engineers, SuDS practitioners and developers to assess drainage design and development viability more accurately.

This improved method incorporates FEH13 rainfall estimates and soil and climate properties for any point on the land surface, giving users even more accurate runoff estimates from development plots using ReFH 2.2*.

  • The Point Data Extraction tool is available alongside the standard fluvial catchment data retrievals from the FEH Web Service.

FEH Web Service

The FEH Web Service lies at the heart of the current FEH methods, providing online access to the catchment descriptors and rainfall model outputs needed to carry out flood risk assessments, including the latest FEH13 rainfall model and the previous FEH99 rainfall model.

FEH web service

"The essential tool for civil engineers, housing developers, insurers and others for rainfall and river flood frequency estimates in the UK"

All information on the FEH Web Service is ready for use in the FEH software packages WINFAP-FEH 3 and ReFH2:
WINFAP 3 user guide coverREFH2 technical guidance cover

A brief guide to current FEH methods

The Flood Estimation Handbook, based on CEH science, provides two key approaches to flood frequency estimation:

  • FEH statistical method

The FEH statistical method works with the catchment descriptors available on the FEH Web Service to estimate full flood frequency curves from catchment properties and, where available, gauged flow records. A software implementation of the latest version of the method is provided through WINFAP-FEH 3. This supersedes the method described In FEH Volume 3. WINFAP-FEH 3 is supplied by our agents, Wallingford HydroSolutions.

  • Revitalised Flood Hydrograph (ReFH2) method

The ReFH2 design hydrograph method is the most up-to-date version of the FEH’s rainfall-runoff approach to flood estimation. Design storm estimates are routed through a catchment, resulting in estimated peak flow and runoff volume. ReFH2 software streamlines application of the method to just three stages, and allows greenfield and post-development runoff peaks and volumes to be compared side-by-side. ReFH2 replaces the original ReFH method and the FSR/FEH rainfall-runoff method described in FEH Volume 4. ReFH2 is supplied by our agents, Wallingford HydroSolutions.

History of FEH

The Flood Estimation Handbook was published in 1999 in the form of a five-volume handbook providing practical guidance on the use of flood estimation methods, together with details of supporting theory and analysis. The handbook was accompanied by software and digital data, allowing users to estimate flood frequency for any site of interest on the UK river network, whether gauged or ungauged.

Since its initial release, the FEH data, methods and software have been revised and updated, and a number of publications have superseded parts of the handbook itself. However, the core philosophy has been retained.

Related links

FEH Web Service

Purchasing credits for catchment or point data from FEH Web Service

Flood Estimation Handbook and software

News story announcing addition of Point Data Extraction (May 2016)


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