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Despite the great scientific and technological advances in flood hydrology, everyday engineering practices still follow simplistic approaches that are easy to formally implement in ungauged areas. In general, these "recipes" have been developed many decades ago, based on field data from typically few experimental catchments. However, many of them have been neither updated nor validated across all hydroclimatic and geomorphological conditions. This has an obvious impact on the quality and reliability of hydrological studies, and, consequently, on the safety and cost of the related flood protection works. Preliminary results, based on historical flood data from Cyprus and Greece, indicate that a substantial revision of many aspects of flood engineering procedures is required, including the regionalization formulas as well as the modelling concepts themselves. In order to provide a consistent design framework and to ensure realistic predictions of the flood risk (a key issue of the 2007/60/EU Directive) in ungauged basins, it is necessary to rethink the current engineering practices. In this vein, the collection of reliable hydrological data would be essential for re-evaluating the existing "recipes", taking into account local peculiarities, and for updating the modelling methodologies as needed.
One-dimensional and quasi-two-dimensional hydraulic freeware models (HEC-RAS, LISFLOOD-FP and FLO-2d) are widely used for flood inundation mapping. These models are tested on a benchmark test with a mixed rectangular-triangular channel cross section. Using a Monte-Carlo approach, we employ extended sensitivity analysis by simultaneously varying the input discharge, longitudinal and lateral gradients and roughness coefficients, as well as the grid cell size. Based on statistical analysis of three output variables of interest, i.e. water depths at the inflow and outflow locations and total flood volume, we investigate the uncertainty enclosed in different model configurations and flow conditions, without the influence of errors and other assumptions on topography, channel geometry and boundary conditions. Moreover, we estimate the uncertainty associated to each input variable and we compare it to the overall one. The outcomes of the benchmark analysis are further highlighted by applying the three models to real-world flood propagation problems, in the context of two challenging case studies in Greece.