Academics from across the UK are joining forces with the Government in an attempt to tackle the country's risks from flooding and take action on coastal erosion.
The Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Research Network
The Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Research Network, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will look at ways to deal with flood risk and how we respond to the ongoing challenges that high tides, intense rain storms and rising sea levels pose to residents.
The network will be led by Professor Gareth Pender of the Institute of Infrastructure and Environment at Heriot-Watt University. Its members are a mixture of academics from universities across the UK, engineering consultants and Government bodies such as SEPA and the Environment Agency.
Gareth Pender, Professor of Environmental Engineering, said, "Flooding worldwide has increased two-fold in the last 50 years. We know this is increasing because of climate change and there's little we can do to stop it in the medium term.
"There is no single response to fully address the complex issues surrounding the risk from flooding which is why it's important there is more cooperation between flooding experts and the Government."
Floods in England and Wales
Calls for such a network came after flash floods in England and Wales last year claimed 13 lives and resulted in approximately 48,000 households and nearly 7,300 businesses being flooded. It was the worst floods experienced in the UK since 2007.
As a result of the flooding crisis in 2007, Sir Michael Pitt was commissioned to carry out an independent review of the lessons learned. This review acted as a catalyst for the agencies responsible for Flood and Coastal Erosion Management (FCERM) in the UK to actively engage with academics carrying out research in this field.
Professor Pender added, "The network helps facilitate interaction between academics and Government bodies and professionals working in the field of flood defence. It will aid and speed up the process of new research being used, identify emerging research gaps and encourage the development of new research proposals needed to tackle this complex issue."
Flooding case studies:
In November 2012, the UK experienced its worst flooding since 2007. Flash floods in England and Wales resulted in 13 people losing their lives, approximately 48,000 households and nearly 7,300 businesses were flooded and 350,000 people were left without mains water and other critical infrastructure including power supplies, transport links and telecommunications.
In 2012, the storm surge induced by Hurricane Sandy flooded the east coast of the USA causing wide spread flooding, resulting in mass evacuations, blackouts and fuel shortages. This resulted in 90 deaths and $31 billion damage costs have been attributed to this event.
Severe flooding hit Queensland, Australia on three occasions during 2010 to 2011. At least 70 towns and over 200,000 people were affected with damage estimated at Australian$ 1 billion.
Intense rainfall hit 12 provinces in The People's Republic of China in 2011, affecting 36 million people and killing at least 355. The economic losses of the crisis amounted to US$ 6.5 billion.
Monsoon floods in Sri Lanka in 2011 resulted in 325,000 people being displaced, 27 dead, and stretches of railway lines under a metre of water.