Communities established near rivers and along coastlines have always had to contend with flooding. Yet even the most highly developed parts of the world are still at risk from devastating floods today with flooding occurring from a number of sources, including from surface water and many major coastal cities of the world face a longer term threat of flooding due to rising sea levels.

Failure to manage the risks of flooding and coastal erosion in a sustainable way will lead to continued loss of life and property, extensive damage to economies and ongoing misery for millions of people.

Protecting communities with flood defences, involving them in flood risk management and building resilience into adaptation strategies are all needed as part of the approach to combat the risks of flooding.

CIWEM’s work in this area includes flood and coastal erosion risk management, surface water management and urban drainage.


Special Interest Groups working in relation to flooding are:

Rivers and Coastal Group Urban Drainage Group



Read our in-depth reports:


A Place for SuDS?




sandbags - Copy Breaking the Bank? Funding for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England Dredging Floods and Dredging – a reality check
large reservoir - Copy Integrated Water Management Managed realignment Managed realignment


Planning advice for integrated water management

Planning Advice Note

A guidance document for integrating water management at the strategic scale of planning and design to achieve sustainable development by the Natural Capital Leaders Platform

Supplementary case studies


Policy Position Statements are available on the following related subjects:

Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management
Climate Change Adaptation Environmental impacts of combined sewer overflows