One of the approaches to flood modelling is numerical simulation of the diffusive wave approximation of the shallow water equations. Improving these models in various aspects is still an open area of research. In this study, a new diffusive wave model with explicit time integration was developed which includes some novel features: (1) time steps are determined using a novel stability criterion which resulted in more dynamic time steps (i.e., broader range) compared to the conventional Courant–Friedrichs–Lewy stability condition; (2) stability constraints are reduced, considering the flow processes within surface ponds; (3) besides Manning's formula, which is the common equation for computing velocities in diffusive wave models, the free fall velocity and a new equation for wave-front velocity are employed; and (4) the influence of upstream surface ponds on downstream flow is considered. This paper introduces the enhanced diffusive wave model, the so-called Overland Flow Simulator Cellular Automata (OFS-CA), and its results for five test cases. Available analytical solutions and an experimental study were used for verification. Two other shallow water models were used for comparison and benchmarking. Overall, good agreements were observed and OFS-CA was computationally less expensive compared to the other two shallow water models.

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