From the dawn of civilisation, society has been affected by
floods. Communities established near rivers and along the coast
have been particularly affected. As civilisation has developed, it
has adapted to flooding, making buildings resistant to flooding and
protecting communities with flood defences. Yet even the most
highly developed parts of the world are still at risk from
devastating floods today.
Projections relating to climate change indicate that extreme
weather and sea level rise are likely to increase the risk of
flooding. CIWEM is working to improve ways in which flood waters
are managed so that they better link in with the water cycle.
Floods and Dredging - a reality check
The Floods seen over the Winter of 2013/14 have seen a very
public call for more widespread dredging of main rivers and other
watercourses in order to improve flood protection to those
communities affected by events, particularly on the Somerset Levels
and the Thames Valley. This has been taken up by senior
Ministers and presented as an effective and widely applicable flood
risk management solution.
Floods and Dredging - a
reality check takes an objective look at the role that dredging
plays in managing water in our rivers and explains where dredging
is an effective and appropriate measure and the circumstances in
which its deployment will be far less effective and can even
exacerbate flood risk, as well as causing ecological damage.
The report encourages a balanced approach, utilising a wide
range of measures which should be deployed where they can deliver
most benefit. This includes dredging in certain locations,
particularly those which are already heavily altered environments,
but which has at its heart the principle of slowing water down in
upper catchments to reduce the height and therefore impact of flood
peaks. It emphasises the need for a considered approach based on
sound evidence and expert assessment to deliver the best levels of
protection to communities.
work on Flooding
CIWEM's work on flooding issues is coordinated through the Rivers
and Coastal Group and UDG (CIWEM's Urban Drainage Group). CIWEM also
produces the Journal of Flood Risk Management.
The 2007 Floods and the subsequent review led by Sir Michael
Pitt stimulated much debate about how best to tackle the
management of flood risk in the future. Against a background of
creating a more joined up approach, the need for sustainable
solutions and the challenges of climate change, the ICE, CIWEM,
RIBA, RICS, RTPI, RUSI and the Landscape Institute produced
Policy Statement in 2009 to inform and guide their
members and the wider industry.
Realignment - Around a third of the coastline
surrounding England and Wales is currently protected by defences
designed to reduce the risk to people and properties from coastal
flooding and erosion. Scientists expect this risk to increase
substantially in the future, mostly as a result of climate change.
In some areas, maintaining the current line of defence will become
increasingly cost-prohibitive and, more importantly, unsustainable.
CIWEM have produced a Briefing Report on
the subject exploring the available policy options.
Policy Position Statements