New Module for XBeach Improves Riverbank Safety (The Netherlands)

New Module for XBeach Improves Riverbank Safety

A module has been added to the XBeach flow model. For the first time, it will be possible to accurately determine the effect of passing ships on river banks that are not straight.

Other models can only calculate the interaction between ships, wave movements and the bank for straight banks with vertical walls. An accurate picture of the effect of wave movements on banks is important for management, and for protecting the area on the waterline.


The new XBeach module was in part a response to an accident in April 2011, when a passing ship in the New Waterway produced a wave so high that two people watching the ship ended up in the water. The accident occurred where the New Waterway gets narrower, which it needs to do here because of the tidal barrier. Deltares and UNESCO-IHE were called in by Rijkswaterstaat to determine whether this was an incident or whether changes were needed.


The existing software for calculating the impact of passing ships can only describe the effect of waves on straight banks and so new software had to be developed for the study. The XBeach flow model was adopted as the basis and a new model for passing ships was coupled to it. This makes it possible, for example, to determine how ship speeds and cargoes affect waves and banks.

The researchers found that the accident in the New Waterway was the result of a unique combination of ship waves, shallow water and a complex bed and bank geometry.

Widely applicable

The new module can also be used in other locations where the river banks are not straight. This will allow port and area managers to determine more accurately the conditions for passing ships in order to ensure safety on banks and coasts. XBeach is an open source software model and it is available to everyone.


Press Release, May 17, 2013