In this paper, the standard Smagorinsky's algorithm is embedded into the multiple relaxation time (MRT) lattice Boltzmann model (LBM) for large eddy simulation (LES) of turbulent shallow water flows (MRT-LABSWETM). The model is based on the two-dimensional nonlinear shallow water equations, giving the depth-averaged features. It is verified by applying the model in three typical cases in engineering with turbulence: (i) the flow around a square cylinder, (ii) plane cavity flow, and (iii) flows in a junction of 90°. The results obtained by the MRT-LABSWETM are compared with BGK-LABSWETM results and experimental data. The objectives of this study are to validate the MRT-LABSWETM in a turbulence simulation and perform a comparative analysis between the results of BGK-LABSWETM and MRT-LABSWETM. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.