How do our flood defences perform during floods? Ten years of lessons learned and putting them into practice

Flikweert, J. and Hollingsworth, C. and Burdett, S. and Simm, J.D. (2017) How do our flood defences perform during floods? Ten years of lessons learned and putting them into practice. In: ICFM7, 5-7 September 2017, Leeds, UK.

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Flood defences are only called into action a few times in their life, so if a large flood does occur, it is important to learn from their performance. The Environment Agency have carried out a structured review of defence performance after each of the major events since the 2007 Summer floods, up to and including the winter 2015/16 floods. These reviews have focused on lessons learned for asset management, at both local and national scale. This presentation will look back over the six reviews carried out in that period, drawing out overarching conclusions about how English flood defences perform during floods based on real life experience, and how this has driven and is driving improvements to asset management and design, supported by research. The six reviews covered all major breaches or near-breaches, but also assessed assets that survived against the odds. Each review typically started with site visits to collate factual information but also to understand the local asset managers’ point of view and collect anecdotal evidence, essential to establish the story of the flood event. This was used to determine the failure modes that occurred, supported by hydraulic/geotechnical modelling as required. Key conclusions were that visual condition can only tell so much about risk of breach, and that local irregularities are often the trigger for failure. This has influenced how the Environment Agency prioritises its asset management investment in relation to Condition Grade, and has initiated focused studies to identify weak points such as transitions and historical channel crossings.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: 7th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM7)
Uncontrolled Keywords: flood events; asset management; lessons learned and continuous improvement; flood defence performance
Subjects: Floods > General
Divisions: Floods
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2020 09:53
Last Modified: 29 May 2020 07:42

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