2001 – Risk Implications of the PMF and PMP Design Flood

R.J. Nathan, P.I. Hill, and H. Griffith

Recently released ANCOLD and IEAust flood guidelines include provision for the estimation of the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) as well as the Probable Maximum Precipitation Design Flood (PMP DF). This paper examines the theoretical justification for derivation of these two different types of floods, and discusses how they may be used to characterise the hydrologic risk relevant to dam spillways. Recent experience has indicated that there is some confusion in the industry about the different uses of these estimates, and thus one objective of the paper is to clarify the different concepts involved and to provide an illustration of the differences between flood estimates for the two methods. Examples are provided to illustrate how the different estimates may be derived, and the practical implications for risk analysis are discussed.

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