New Study To Assess Surface Water Flooding Management

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A new study is set to be carried out, investigating effective approaches to surface water flooding management in England, essential since surface water flooding is, in fact, the country’s most common flood risk, with 3.2 million properties at risk.


Conducted by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), the study will assess how, based on evidence and economic impact, how responsible bodies can manage and mitigate surface water flooding more effectively through outcomes and actions, including through infrastructure.


Analysis will be undertaken to better understand the risks of this kind of flooding, including sewage overflows, as well as the opportunities that exist in both the short and long term.


The study will also determine the improvements required to drainage systems in urban rural economies and assess current approaches to manage surface water, considering cost-benefit analysis of each infrastructure option and how these can work together to provide greater resilience and value for money.


Surface water flooding is caused by various factors, including rainfall, drainage system capacity and maintenance, physical barriers and soil permeability.


This kind of flooding is often localised and complex, proving disruptive to businesses and homes, as well as causing serious pollution to coastal waters and rivers, affecting environmental quality, biodiversity and public health and amenities.


Because of climate change, more intense rainfall and population growth, we’re more at risk of surface water flooding than ever, with significant events already having taken place in 2021.


Solutions to the problem are likely to necessitate a holistic approach at both local and landscape scale, with actions required across a range of different sectors and industries, including built infrastructure and nature-based measures.


A final report from the NIC is expected to be delivered to the government by November 2022, setting out all recommendations, consistent with the organisation’s current fiscal and economic remits.


In 2019, the UK Climate Change Committee issued a warning that 1.4 million people in England now face a risk of 1:75 or greater of flooding of any kind, including coastal. What this means is that there’s a 1.33 per cent chance of flooding in any given year and, if global warming hits two degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures, the number facing this level of risk could rise to 1.7 million.


Billions of pounds worth of damage is prevented each year by the network of river barriers and defences, but natural flood management can also be part of the solution, restoring bends in rivers, changing how land is managed to allow soil to absorb more water, building dams to slow water flow and planting trees to intercept rainwater.


However, it may well be that insufficient action is being taken to increase resilience and mitigate risks, with urban areas facing serious issues because of the amount of impermeable surfaces preventing rainwater absorption. Property development is also taking place in flood-prone areas, which suggests the issue isn’t being taken seriously enough.


Do you want to find out more about water efficiency? Get in touch with H2o Building Services today.