1D/2D modelling suite for integral water solutions

Throughout the world, there is a growing need for integral water solutions. We need protection from excess water in order to live safely in delta areas and river basins. Our water systems also need to be clean and sustainable. To support water authorities, consultancy firms, research institutes and universities worldwide, Deltares offers an integrated modelling suite called SOBEK for the integral simulation.


SOBEK is a powerful modelling suite for flood forecasting, optimisation of drainage systems, control of irrigation systems, sewer overflow design, river morphology, salt intrusion and surface water quality. The programmes within the SOBEK modelling suite simulate the complex flows and the water related processes in almost any system. The programmes represent phenomena and physical processes in an accurate way in one-dimensional (1D) network systems and on two-dimensional (2D) horizontal grids. It is the ideal tool for guiding the designer in making optimum use of resources.

It has been developed - and is being further developed - jointly with Dutch public institutes and governmental organisations, research institutes, universities and private consultants all over the world.

  • Integrated approach
    SOBEK offers one software environment for the simulation of all management problems in the areas of river and estuarine systems, drainage and irrigation systems and wastewater and storm water systems. This allows for combinations of flow in closed conduits, open channels, rivers overland flows, as well as a variety of hydraulic, hydrological and environmental processes.
  • A powerful hydrodynamic 1D/2D simulation engine
    The hydrodynamic 1D/2D simulation engine is the computational core of SOBEK. This engine is used in all D-Flow programmes within  SOBEK modelling suite. Thus allowing the combined simulation of pipe, river-, channel- and overland flow through an implicit coupling of 1D and 2D flow equations. SOBEK is the ideal tool for studying the effects of dam breaks, river floods, dike breaches, urban flooding etc.
  • Robustness of numerical operations
    The hydrodynamic 1D/2D simulation engine is equipped with a very robust scheme for numerical computation. It also guarantees mass conservation, even in case of transitions through suddenly varying cross section shapes. The engine combines computations of subcritical and supercritical flow, at scales selected by the user. It handles flooding and drying of channels without the use of artificial methods such as the Preissmann slot.
  • Numerical efficiency
    The hydrodynamic 1D/2D simulation engine has a very efficient numerical solution algorithm; this is based upon the optimum combination of a minimum connection search direct solver and the conjugate gradient method. It also applies a variable time step selector, which suppresses the waste of computational time wherever this is feasible.
  • Size of models
    The size of the model is only limited by the size of the internal memory of the computer used.
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Example integrated model (D-Flow 1D Pipes and D-Flow 1D Open Water plus D-Rainfall Runoff Open Water programmes), Hong Kong

The current version of SOBEK is version 2.13.002.


SOBEK allows you to simulate the interaction of water and water related processes in time and space. The suite is mostly used for the modelling of integrated water systems for water management, design, planning and policy making. SOBEK consists of a number of well-tested and validated programmes, which are linked to and integrated with one-another. These programmes are:

D-Flow 1D Open Water
D-Flow 1D Pipes
D-Flow 2D Overland
D-Rainfall Runoff Open Water
D-Water Quality 1D
D-Real Time Control.

Graphical User Interface

The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is one of the most user-friendly in the market. Under the umbrella of this GUI the programmes combine into an exceptionally versatile and easy-to-use power suite. The GUI allows the user to visualize model input, reference data and simulation results as time series and animations of one- and two-dimensional data sets on the map and in side views. The SOBEK modelling suite is open for additional pre and post processing tools (such as the QUICKIN tool), a powerful editor of grid related data (such as bathymetries for the D-Flow 2D Overland programme) running standalone and as ArcGIS plug-in.

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QUICKIN, a powerful editor of grid related data, such as bathymetries

The SOBEK programmes are also available as plug-ins in the open operational framework called Delft-FEWS. Within Delft-FEWS the programmes can either be deployed in a stand-alone, manually driven environment, or in a fully automated distributed client-server environment.

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Graphical User Interface of Delft-FEWS with SOBEK programmes as plug-ins, Po River, Italy


The validation of a modelling system such as SOBEK requires continuous attention. Even though the individual programmes of the suite have been thoroughly tested during their development, the suite as a whole requires intensive testing and validation too. To this end, a regular programme is established and tests of many of the most likely combinations are continually performed. As a policy, new versions are released only after an extensive beta testing period, to ensure that our users are only provided with stable and validated products.

System requirements

SOBEK is supported on Microsoft Windows. For details, please visit our website. The advised requirements are a configuration consisting of:





1,5 GHz

3 GHz


512 MB

4 GB

Disk free

2 GB

20 GB

Service packages

Deltares offers high quality services to consultancy firms, governmental organizations, universities and research institutes worldwide.

Several SOBEK service packages, including fully validated high quality SOBEK distributions, are available to suit your specific needs!

Designed with you in mind, they offer you your requested level of convenience.

Support desk

The SOBEK support desk is the user’s instantly accessible contact point for all questions and problems concerning the software. The support team answers the majority of questions instantly or takes responsibility that a timely reply is given by one of the other SOBEK team members. All incoming queries on the software packages, current or future performance, are recorded in our professional issue tracker system. This system is an important instrument in the realisation of improvements to the package, the manuals and the Deltares Academy training courses. New versions of SOBEK will be released once a year to all users, as part of their service package.

Ongoing developments

To keep SOBEK up-to-date with state-of-the-art knowledge, we constantly update and extend the system. Please contact us if you are interested in particular features that go beyond the default functionality mentioned. Developments of the SOBEK suite currently include:

  • D-Morphology 1D programme (1D-3D)
  • D-Water Quality 2D programme (1D-3D)
  • Flexible Mesh support: an integrated engine based on 1D networks and 3D/2D layered mesh of mixed triangles, quadrilaterals, and more complex cells
  • DeltaShell, open flexible modelling suite for 0D-3D models
  • OpenMI compliant (in DeltaShell)
  • OpenDA (in DeltaShell)
  • Redhat/Linux. 

For our beta testing programme, please contact

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Example D-Flow Flexible Mesh, San Francisco Bay, USA

Users meetings

Deltares organizes an annual international SOBEK users meeting. Multiple smaller SOBEK users meetings are organized at international conferences world-wide; providing excellent venues to get updates on the latest developments and to meet other SOBEK users.

Deltares Academy

Please visit the for all information about our SOBEK training courses.