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Risk, Impact and Resilience

Risk, impact and resilience

Risk, impact and resilience

Risk, impact and resilience

Our research addresses flood management issues in coastal and urban areas. Please see below for some of our research projects related to risk, impact and resilience.

Current Projects

ARSINOE is financed by the European Commission with a total budget of 15 million euros and is coordinated by the University of Thessaly, Greece. It brings together 41 partners from 15 countries and intends to be a game-changer for shaping pathways to resilience by delivering regional innovation packages that build an ecosystem to develop and implement innovative climate change adaptation measures and solutions across Europe.

Acknowledging that climate change is complex and strongly connected to other global challenges, such as food security, water scarcity, biodiversity depletion and environmental degradation, it is insufficient to use traditional approaches to innovation that focus on one aspect of the problem.

Systems Innovation Approach (SIA) addresses the developing complexity, interdependencies and interconnectedness of contemporary societies and economies, covering the functions of the cross-sectoral system as a whole and the respective variety of stakeholders. The Climate Innovation Window (CIW) refers to the European Union’s innovations marketplace for climate adaptation technologies.

Towards this direction, in the next four years the ARSINOE project will develop a methodological framework for the combination of SIA with the CIW to create an ecosystem under a three-tier approach: (a) integration of multi-faceted technological, digital, business, governance and environmental aspects with social innovation for the development of adaptation pathways to climate change, so as to meet EU Green Deal targets for specific regions; (b) linkage with CIW to form innovation packages by matching innovators with end-users and regions; (c) fostering the ecosystem sustainability and growth with cross-fertilization and replication across scales, at European level and beyond, using appropriate business models and exploitation-outreach actions.

Nine widely diverse regions across Europe will demonstrate the ARSINOE three-tier approach as a proof-of-concept with regards to its applicability, replicability, potential and efficacy. These are: (i) Athens metropolitan area (EL), (ii) Mediterranean ports including Port of Piraeus (EL), Limassol (CY) and Valencia (ES), (iii) Main river in Germany (DE), (iv) transboundary Ochrid/Prespa lakes (MK, AL, EL), (v) Canary Islands (ES), (vi) transboundary Black Sea including Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey (RO, BG and TR), (vii) Southern Denmark (DK), (viii) Torbay and Devon county (UK) and (ix) the Mediterranean island Sardinia (IT).

The aim of this fellowship is to develop novel technologies to facilitate the delivery of smart and resilient water systems.

The aim is to develop analytical tools to analyse big data from smart sensors at household and system levels, so as to identify vulnerabilities and inform infrastructure planning, design, operation and management decisions and thus improve resilience.

ENRICH will bring together expertise and experience from UK and Thailand in the areas of climate variability and climate change, floods and drought modelling and water resources management.

The Mun river basin in Northeast Thailand is a prime example of the area impacted by hydro-meteorological hazards. Its specific vulnerability lies in the fact that its upstream parts are more prone to droughts, whereby the downstream part of the basin is a flood risk zone. About 80 to 90% of rice cultivation area in the Mun river basin is rain-fed. Rainfall in the study area is highly erratic both in space and time even though the annual average amount is near to the norm of Thailand. This unevenness has serious effects on rice production, living conditions and income of farmers who are the main population in the region.

The ultimate aim of this project is to establish a strong collaboration and exchange of knowledge between the University of Exeter and AIT, to develop innovative integrated solutions to address the pressing problem of hydro-meteorological extremes and adaptation strategies and measures in the Mun river basin.

The proposed project will address the following research questions:

  • What are the main environmental drivers affecting the meteorological and climate variability and change in Northeast of Thailand?
  • What are possible hydro-meteorological scenarios and extremes in future in the study area? What is the level of confidence that the projected changes can be attributed to environmental and climate changes?
  • What are the expected changes in hydro-meteorological hazards and risks due to future climatic extremes?
  • What are the possible and plausible adaptation strategies and measures to improve climate resilience in the study basin?
  • In line with the recent policy and planning of the Royal Irrigation Department and Department of Water Resources of Thailand, this study will investigate drought hazard due to future climate change, and its impacts on vulnerability and risk in the study area. Furthermore, analysis on current adaptive measures and recommendation for further improvement to cope with future climate change will be produced.

The proposed two and a half year research programme will be realized through four integrated Work Packages (WPs):

  • WP1: Land use changes
  • WP2: Climate variability and climate change
  • WP3: Hydrometeorological extremes
  • WP4: Adaptation strategies based on the synthesis of results
  • The ENRICH team will work closely with the Thai Department of Water Resources and the Royal Irrigation Department, from the project inception workshop, through data acquisition and analysis and finally during the dissemination phase, so that the outputs can be taken up.

Two public participation meetings will be organised in the study area with local stakeholders - farmers, industries, local line agencies at provincial/district levels etc. - to understand the hydro-meteorological hazards related issues (at the start of the project), and discuss adaptation measures (towards the end of the project while developing the adaptation strategies and measures) with them.

Whilst ENRICH is a stand-alone initiative that can be completed independently, from an early stage it will seek cooperation with other projects funded within this programme to identify the potential for synergies through sharing data and expertise.

GeoRes will develop protocols to improve the engineering characteristics of waste geomaterials, and to guarantee the level of performance over the service life of geostructures built from waste geomaterials considering site-specific conditions (climate, water table, leaching, weathering, hazardous compounds, etc.).

GeoRes aims to expand the scope of the involved teams’ research in addressing some of the outstanding challenges in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering: developing innovative solutions for the reuse of waste geomaterials generated by construction and mining industries across Europe and worldwide.

Find out more on the dedicated GeoRes webpage.

This project will scope the flood risk of the Mun River Basin and analyse different types of drought and the yearly succession of wet and dry periods in current and future climates. The project will extend the scope of the ongoing ENRICH project (that is focussed on drought) to include flooding as the other hydro-meteorological extreme critical for South-East Asia and beyond. Findings from this project will address the classical but exacerbated problem of “too much” or “too little” water in the context of climate change. The key output will be the framework for integrated management of hydro-meteorological extremes that will be fundamental for future investigations of strategies for adaptation to drought and flood disasters.

This six-month project will build upon the successful partnership that the teams from University of Exeter and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok have had on ENRICH since 2018. Professors Slobodan Djordjevic, Mat Collins and Albert Chen from CEMPS and Professors Babel, Shrestha and Loc from AIT will work with a team of six postgraduate researchers at the two institutions. The project is supported by experts from relevant departments of Thai Government and scientific advisors from Denmark and the Netherlands.

Objectives

With focus on co-development between EU and India ensuring exploitability of its outcomes, LOTUS brings a new ICT solution for India’s water and sanitation challenges in both rural and urban areas.

High-level objectives:

  1. To co-design and co-produce, jointly with EU and Indian partners, an innovative multi-parameters chemical sensor as an advanced solution for water quality monitoring in India. It shall use advanced technologies (carbon nanotubes) capable of monitoring in real time multiple contaminants and adaptable to diversified use cases in India;
  2. To develop a suite of tailor-made software tools, combined into a platform with cloud-based implementation. By integrating LOTUS new sensors to advanced ICT technologies, it shall improve water management according to the specific requirements of LOTUS Use Cases, representative of water challenges in India;
  3. To demonstrate and showcase the LOTUS sensor and software solution in a wide variety of Indian use cases across the whole value chain of water (urban and rural areas, drinking and irrigation water quality, river and groundwater monitoring, treated wastewater quality). Across use cases, the common goal is to improve on water availability and quality by improving on existing infrastructures, thus answering a wide range of socio-economic and technical water challenges in India;
  4. To investigate, co-design and plan the business model and market uptake of the LOTUS solution, with industrial production and further development and production of the sensor in India, ensuring an advanced but affordable, low cost product and solution for monitoring water quality, after the end of the project;
  5. To promote social innovation, by introducing co-creation, co-design and co-development with Universities, Research Centres, SMEs, NGOs, Utilities and local stakeholders, bringing together social sciences and technology experts, as a paradigm of successful EU-India Cooperation in the water sector, with lasting social, technological and business impacts for water quality in India, leading to viable, affordable and (socially) acceptable products and solutions, capacity development, job creation, contribution to wider issues and initiatives and wide outreach activities.

Visit the LOTUS website for further information. 

This fellowship investigates how to develop smart water infrastructure systems using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and big data already available in the water industry in response to a changing environment including extreme weather.

There is a critical need to develop new advanced data and visual analytics to unlock the value of large-scale water utility databases for informed real time decision making on a wide variety of different problems including leakage, flooding, water pollution and energy efficiency. This fellowship offers exactly such an opportunity, through close collaboration with Northumbrian Water Ltd, to turn piecemeal techniques into integrated solutions for industry problems, thus is timely for major impact on large investments in water infrastructure in the next 50 years.

This fellowship aims to develop the next generation advanced analytics and tools that enable real time decision making for management and operation of smart water infrastructure systems. This fellowship will promote wider deployment of sensing and measurement technologies and informed, real time decision-making. It will improve operational automation and efficiency under standard design conditions and operational resilience under extreme conditions. This fellowship is particularly important to provide a step change towards a smart water system where the sensors and controllers are linked together for fully automated decision making in response to dynamic environments.

RECONECT is developing a holistic ecosystem-based framework enabling cross-sectoral/transdisciplinary analyses and evaluation to advance the knowledge of NBS in the context of hydro-meteorological risk reduction focusing on floods, storm surges, landslides and droughts.

RECONECT aims to rapidly enhance the European reference framework on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) for hydro-meteorological risk reduction by demonstrating, referencing, upscaling and exploiting large-scale NBS in rural and natural areas.

In an era of Europe’s natural capital being under increased cumulative pressure, RECONECT will stimulate a new culture of co-creation of ‘land use planning’ that links the reduction of hydro-meteorological risk with local and regional development objectives in a sustainable and financially viable way.

To do that, RECONECT draws upon a network of carefully selected Demonstrators and Collaborators that cover a wide and diverse range of local conditions, geographic characteristics, institutional/governance structures and social/cultural settings to successfully upscale NBS throughout Europe and Internationally.

To achieve these ambitious goals, the RECONECT consortium brings together an unprecedented transdisciplinary partnership of researchers, industrial partners (SMEs and large consultancies) and authorities/agencies at local and watershed/regional level fully dedicated to achieve the desired outcomes of the project.

For further information, please visit the RECONECT website.

The South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is a collaborative initiative that will help deliver economic and community benefits to the South West, whilst also protecting and enhancing the area’s natural resources.

Funded by Natural Environment Research Council’s Regional Impact from Science of the Environment programme for 5 years, SWEEP will bring academic experts, businesses and policy makers together to solve some of the challenges involved in managing, utilising and improving the natural environment.

SWEEP is a collaboration of three research institutions: the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marine Laboratory – working together with a large group of highly engaged business, policy and community partners.

Recent Projects

BRIM is a network that brings together academics, engineers and policy makers to develop a shared, multi-disciplinary vision of how to build resilience into networked risk management for highly complex engineered systems.

The aim of the network was to nurture the development of novel methodologies and tools of building resilience into networked risk management of critical infrastructure systems for identifying tipping points of interdependencies and managing cascade effects of extreme events, in particular those related to extreme weather such as flooding and drought.

This network was by Professor Guangtao Fu at the University of Exeter, supported by Professor Roy Kalawsky at Loughborough University and Dr Monica Rivas Casado at Cranfield University.

Find out more on the main BRIM website or within our bespoke project website.

 

The overall aim of CORFU was to enable European and Asian partners to learn from each other through joint investigation, development, implementation and dissemination of short to medium term strategies that will enable more scientifically sound management of the consequences of urban flooding in the future.

CORFU was a four-year project involving 15 European and Asian institutions, funded by a grant from the European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme. Professor Slobodan Djordjevic of the University of Exeter was Project Coordinator. Professor David Butler was also involved in CORFU as a member of the Executive Committee. Dr. Michael Hammond and Dr. Albert Chen were involved full time as postdoctoral researchers managing one of the CORFU work packages, and Anne Douglas-Crawford was Project Administrator.

For further information, please visit the CORFU website

Development of a novel standalone solar-driven agriculture greenhouse desalination that grows its energy and irrigation water.

ESPRIT aimed to establish strong collaborations between the UK and Chinese partners to advance our scientific understanding of urban flooding and thus enhance flood resilience.

Through engagement with five Chinese cities that have suffered severe flooding in the past few years, the consortium created a framework of systems modelling to develop innovative solutions for strengthening cities’ resilience against flooding. The framework evaluated the effectiveness of interventions to support decision makers in strategic planning and adaptation measures.

ESPIRT worked closely with Chinese local governments and Torbay Council, UK as the project’s case studies, so as to address the common existing challenges in urban flood risk management. Various adaptation strategies were tested to compare their suitability in different weather and urban conditions. Local governments from both countries also shared their experiences and evaluated the solutions. As a result, a guidance for embedding flood resilience analysis in urban planning was established so as to safeguard future cities from the impact of flooding.

The main objectives of EU-CIRCLE were to define a holistic climate resilience infrastructure model and its constitutional components to develop the technical solution that will implement it and to extensively validate it in real world test cases.

Background

It is presently acknowledged and scientifically proven than climate related hazards have the potential to substantially affect the lifespan and effectiveness or even destroy of European Critical Infrastructures (CI), particularly the energy, transportation sectors, buildings, marine and water management infrastructure with devastating impacts in EU appraising the social and economic losses. The main strategic objective of EU-CIRCLE is to move towards infrastructure network(s) that is resilient to today’s natural hazards and prepared for the future changing climate. Furthermore, modern infrastructures are inherently interconnected and interdependent systems ; thus extreme events are liable to lead to ‘cascade failures’.

EU-CIRCLE’s scope is to derive an innovative framework for supporting the interconnected European Infrastructure’s resilience to climate pressures, supported by an end-to-end modelling environment where new analyses can be added anywhere along the analysis workflow and multiple scientific disciplines can work together to understand interdependencies, validate results, and present findings in a unified manner providing an efficient “Best of Breeds” solution of integrating into a holisti resilience model existing modelling tools and data in a standardised fashion.

It, will be open & accessible to all interested parties in the infrastructure resilience business and having a confirmed interest in creating customized and innovative solutions. It will be complemented with a webbased portal.The design principles, offering transparency and greater flexibility, will allow potential users to introduce fully tailored solutions and infrastructure data, by defining and implementing customised impact assessment models, and use climate / weather data on demand.

Objectives:

  • From response & prevention to resilience
  • Balancing Priorities
  • CIRP, Advanced Modelling and Simulation Environment for Assessing Climate Impacts to Infrastructures
  • SimICI a unique reference test-bed
  • Innovative local impact assessments
  • Reduce uncertainties
  • Contribute to Climate impact assessment standards
  • Scientific Support to policies and CI stakeholders
  • EU-CIRCLE as a vehicle to Industry Growth

Link to EU Policies

EU-CIRCLE lies on the intersection of several European policies and initiatives spanning across different domains. These include:

The EU Internal Security Strategy, and more importantly the 5th Objective to Increase Europe’s resilience to crises and disasters. This calls for an all-hazards approach to threat and risk assessment: guidelines for disaster management will be drawn up, national approaches will be developed, cross-sectoral overviews of possible risks will be established together with overviews of current threats, an initiative on health security will be developed, and a risk management policy will be established.

The EU Climate Adaptation Strategy (SWD (2013) 299), acknowledges that climate related hazards will have a defining impact on the status and operational capacity of European critical infrastructures, and society as a whole. More specifically, the following points have been identified:

  • Asset deterioration and reduced life expectancy
  • Increases in Operational Expenditure (OPEX) and the need for additional Capital Expenditure (CAPEX)
  • Loss of income
  • Increased risks of environmental damage and litigation
  • Reputation damage
  • Changes in market demand for goods and services
  • Increased insurance costs or lack of insurance availability.

The European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (Directive 2008/114/EC), on the identification and designation of European Critical Infrastructures and the assessment of the need to improve their protection. Identified Critical infrastructures which, if disrupted or destroyed, would have a serious impact on health, safety, security or economic well-being of citizens and/or effective functioning of government in Member States. The Directive requested an all-hazards risk framework treating natural hazards and terrorism alike, setting the principles upon which the Member States must ensure that an operator security plan (OSP) or an equivalent measure for each designated CI is devised.

This project aimed to develop a flexible approach for water system planning and management that takes into account uncertainty and allows decision adjustments to be made as new information, new funds or new opportunities become available.

The OVERCOME consortium consists of world-leading organisations that aim to develop a state-of-the-art research plan which integrates digital innovations in natural hazard and risk predictions, in order to develop intervention strategies for strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities against climate hazards and health impacts.

The partners from the UK, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe will contribute knowledge and skills in climate and meteorology, hydrology and water resources, flood forecasting, droughts, water quality, epidemiology and public health, smart technologies, data science, environmental science, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), risk communication, disaster management, social and policy sciences, and socio-economics.

The collaboration will combine multidisciplinary knowledge to develop a novel holistic framework to forecast the impact of floods/droughts and associated disease outbreaks. OVERCOME also has strong support from global experts and local major stakeholders. The external partners will steer research direction throughout the project, contribute their complementary knowledge, and engage the team with additional partners through their strong international networking.

RESCCUE aimed to improve urban resilience: the capability of cities to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum damage.

Facing climate change in urban areas

The RESCCUE project aims to help urban areas around the world to become more resilient to climate change.

More precisely, RESCCUE will bring this objective to practice by providing innovative models and tools to improve the ability of cities to withstand and recover quickly from multiple shocks and stresses and maintain continuity of services.

An end-users – city managers and urban service operators – oriented toolkit will have the capability to be deployed to different types of cities, with different climate change pressures.

A multisectorial appoach, a key advantage of RESCCUE

Cities, being complexes of interdependent systems, cannot be understood by sectorial and disciplinary approaches alone1. In this sense, RESCCUE goes beyond conventional urban resilience approaches delivering a forward looking, multi-scale, multisectorial and multi-hazard methodology. In order to interconnect the several sectorial models, the project will take advantage of the existent HAZUR® tool. The HAZUR® approach is based on a method and software (as a service) to help city decision makers and urban resilience professionals make fully informed and structured choices to make their cities more resilient analysing the interdependencies between different city services, monitoring the city and simulating cascade effects in case of impacts that may affect the city.

Based on this holistic approach, RESCCUE will analyse an interconnectedness of different urban systems, taking as starting point the water sector. This sector has been highlighted due to the importance of water- related risks in the correct functioning of a city: droughts or heavy rains can produce critical impacts on strategic urban services such as water supply, solid waste, telecommunication, energy supply, transport, etc.

1Walloth C, Gurr JM, Schmidt JA Eds.(2014) - Understanding Complex Urban Systems: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Modeling. Springer International Publishing Switzerland

3 cities, 3 different challenges

The models and tools will be validated in three different cities, carefully selected by their representativeness of the European diversity in terms of climate type and city characteristics: Barcelona, Lisbon and Bristol.

The aim of having three cities as the validation platform and first application of RESCCUE’s results will guarantee that the final product is complete, qualified and will ensure its maximum replicability when the project ends.

For further information, please visit the RESCCUE website

The five-year Fellowship, awarded to Professor David Butler, worth around £1.5 million, will fund a project which aims to develop a new approach to water management in UK cities.

Safe & SuRe will draw from multi-disciplinary collaboration with leading academics inside and outside the field.

The vision of this work is to develop a system for water management which is sustainable and resilient. A comprehensive, quantitative evaluation framework will be developed to test in detail what options or strategies can contribute towards a Safe and SuRe water future, focusing on the challenges of water scarcity, urban flooding and river pollution.

Objectives

  1. To develop, test and refine the Safe & SuRe water vision in the context of British cities
  2. To investigate, specify and develop a quantitative option assessment framework
  3. To evaluate threat mitigation and adaptation options and strategies and explore potentially conflicting goals and key interdependencies
  4. To develop a strategy for implementation incorporating transitioning approaches, preparedness for extremes, water users’ responses and the neglected role of town planning
  5. To engage widely with academic leaders in urban water management and other fields
  6. To collaborate with stakeholders and champion the vision and key findings into practice.

The key focus is on how existing urban water systems can be better used, managed, regulated, planned, operated, rehabilitated, retrofitted and redesigned to cope with the coming ‘perfect storm’.  

David Butler is Professor of Water Engineering at the University of Exeter with some 30 years of experience in the water industry. He jointly leads the Centre for Water Systems, which has around 30 researchers working mainly in the areas of urban water, system optimisation and hydroinformatics. Working with David on the Safe & SuRe project are colleagues Dr Raziyeh Farmani, Dr Guangtao Fu and Dr Sarah Ward.

SIM4NEXUS searched for new scientific evidence on sustainable and integrated management of resources (water, land, energy and food) in Europe and elsewhere, and adopted the Nexus concept in testing pathways for a resource-efficient and low-carbon Europe.

SIM4NEXUS increased the understanding of how water management, food production and consumption, energy supply and land use policies are linked together, and how they relate to climate action. The research activities offered solid ground on the benefits of using a Nexus approach, primarily to exploit and create synergies between policies and avoid conflicts between policies. European policies for water-land-energy-food-climate sectors reckon with trade-offs in other sectors. However, opportunities for synergies are less explored and there is no institutionalised procedure for a comprehensive Nexus assessment of new policies. New integrating themes (e.g., circular and low-carbon economy related to resource efficiency and planetary boundaries) can stimulate a Nexus approach.

Our results and products contribute to the legacy of SIM4NEXUS, including knowledge and products to be used for training (i.e., universities, policy, business and civil society organisations). Commercial applications and training courses are planned to ensure follow-up actions. A combined for-profit and non-profit exploitation strategy is developed to ensure the largest project impact, among others to contribute to policy support and future assessments, including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Side-events were organised during COP23 (Bonn, November 2017) and COP24 (Katowice, December 2018) to present progress on the Nexus and climate action.

SIM4NEXUS will seek to partner with international fora in Europe and beyond (e.g. Nexus Project Cluster), to team up for increased and more impactful communication and dissemination of the Nexus concept.

Understanding the Nexus

SIM4NEXUS has a strong research dimension. SIM4NEXUS advanced in the understanding and assessment of the Nexus in various con- texts. A framework for the assessment of the Nexus is developed to facilitate future research assessing the impacts of interventions from

a Nexus perspective. Moreover, interlinkages between water, land, food, energy and climate are now made operational, identifying both the most influential and vulnerable resources. The degrees of interlinkages are defined, including direct and indirect pathways from one Nexus component to another. The Greek case study for example, proves the food sector is the one with the most influence on other Nexus dimen- sions, while water is the most affected and vulnerable resource (Laspidou et al., 2019).

Policy Analysis

Agriculture and Food are key sectors to increase the sustainability of natural resource use.

Climate change, climate change mitigation, and adaptation put pressure on agriculture and food security. At the same time, the agro-food chain can offer solutions for these problems, for example, by replacing animal with vegetable proteins in the diet and increasing resource efficiency in the agro-food chain.

European Common Agricultural Policy can support the transition to more resource-efficient agriculture, e.g., by encouraging farmers to grow less water-demanding or non-irrigated crops, to use technologies for precision irrigation and to reduce emissions of nutrients and pesticides. To protect and restore the soil, water, biodiversity, ecosystems and the landscape, Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) and Greening measures should be stricter and better maintained, and direct payment should be linked to public services instead of agricultural land area.

Successful Nexus policy has many dimensions and is multi-scale. It concerns the whole policy cycle and depends on political will, mindset, a common vision, knowledge management and careful organisation of the process, which is complex and uncertain. Pilots and scenario analyses are helpful, and monitoring of progress and results is vital, as well as collaboration between researchers, stakeholders and policymakers from the start to end of the process. Long-term engagement and financing must be part of the deal, as no sector or sectoral institution feels responsible for the Nexus between sectors. Thematic approaches stimulate a Nexus approach, such as the European ‘From Farm to Fork’ and ‘Circular Economy’ initiatives.

The following policy briefs have been published:

  • Coherence in EU policy on water, land, energy, food and climate: Climate change adaptation policies (2017)
  • Policy coherence of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) within the Nexus between water, energy, land, food and climate depends on policy implementation (2019)
  • Implementation of EU Water Policies may benefit from synergies within the nexus between water, energy, land, food and climate (2019)
  • Eight Policy Coherence Recommendation to the European Green Deal (2020)
  • Landscape restoration to mitigate and adapt to climate change in Central and Eastern Europe (2020)

Thematic Models and Integration

System Dynamics Modelling (SDM) is our methodology of integration, including the modelling of multiple feedback and interaction among resources in the Nexus. SDM dates back from the 1960s. Used for studying feedback problems in industrial processes, it aims to understand how a system behaves and responds to incentives and changes. It proved to be a strong innovative methodology to test the Nexus concept.

The project builds on well known and scientifically established existing models, each to simulate different themes of the Nexus, such as Capri. E3ME, IMAGE-GLOBIO, MAGNET, MagPIE, OSeMOSYS and SWIM.

System Dynamics Modelling is used, integrating public domain data and metadata for decision and policy making.

Serious Game

SIM4NEXUS has developed a Serious Game. The Serious Game is a computer game that aids learning about the Nexus by helping users to understand and explore the interactions between water, energy, land and food resources management under a climate change context, divides the problem into manageable interventions, and allows participants to learn by doing. The ultimate goal of game development is to create a fun and interactive capacity-building tool to be used in research, educational settings and management.

The SIM4NEXUS Serious Game provides impressive user experience and state of the art technology to allow users to learn about the Nexus concepts while playing. To that end, the game relies on four main elements: the Graphic User Interface, the Knowledge Elicitation Engine, the Game Logic and the Nexus repositories.

Case studies & stakeholder engagement

Methodologies and tools to integrate the Nexus components have been tested with real-life challenges in 12 case studies at regional, national, European and global scales. The SIM4NEXUS Partners worked in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders to:

  • Specify the Nexus challenges they face
  • Apply the tools developed by SIM4NEXUS
  • Investigate the applicability and relevance of these tools for supporting decisions and raising awareness
  • Develop effective policy adaptation and implementation that supports a resource-efficient Europe.
  • The science-policy participatory and iterative process established has successfully led to policy recommendations.

An amazing wealth of data has been collected, both from local sources and thematic models, and connected through the specific System Dynamic Models. Policy interventions have been tested through the Serious Game and best possible combinations towards Nexus-compliance have been identified.

SWEEP 006 connects academics and industry to evaluate and implement the potential of regional scale sustainable drainage in South West England.

The South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is a collaborative initiative that will help deliver economic and community benefits to the South West, whilst also protecting and enhancing the area’s natural resources.

SWEEP 006 (Sustainable Drainage) is a sub-award of the main SWEEP partnership. The objective of this sub-award is to connect academia and industry to evaluate and implement sustainable drainage at a regional scale in South West England.

The project achieves this aim through establishing academic-industry networks, delivering training, developing tools and supporting ongoing sustainable drainage projects with partners across the region.

Find out more on the dedicated website.

Enabling the co-ordinated planning, design and operation of closely coupled urban water systems necessary to achieve transformative change in urban flood risk and water management.

Stormwater is frequently considered a hazard leading to a focus on extreme events at one end of the hydrological spectrum which can cause catastrophic flooding, property damage and potentially loss of life. As we enter a more uncertain climate the need to retain and utilise stormwater as a vital water resource comes more sharply into focus. WP2 (led by the Exeter team) examines these options and how they interact with the urban system both in the short and long term, and the benefits that can be secured both directly and indirectly.

For more information visit the urban flood resilience website.

Past Projects

Bacti: is a project to develop a tool (or suite of complementary tools) to deliver rapid forecasting of bacterial concentration exceedance in tidal waters where these arise as a result of trigger events such as rainfall, wind direction, Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) operation, etc. It aims to facilitate meeting the requirements of European Commission Revised Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC)(rBWD). The project focuses on utilising machine-learning modelling tools that can also deliver acceptable levels of accuracy.  We also consider simple transferability so that it can be utilised widely at different bathing waters and shellfish waters.

The modelling tool will have potential applications in providing forecast water quality at bathing waters and shellfish waters to assist with water management actions, and active incident management.  Also it is intended as a tool to inform retrospective investigations into water quality non-compliance (in particular source apportionment at different bathing beaches).

Funding bodies: Environment Agency of England & Wales (SW Region) (CP27) and South West Water Plc

For more information see the BACTI poster

The main aim of the CADDIES project is to produce better algorithms for handling dual drainage flood modelling, i.e where the urban surface flow (major system) is combined with the sewer flow (minor system).

Find out more on our website.

CWS is leading an international research consortium, including colleagues from University of Exeter, UK, University of Central Florida (UCF), US, and Tsinghua University (THU), China, to develop the advanced methodology in the project Flood impact assessment in mega cities under urban sprawl and climate change funded by the Global Innovation Initiative (GII), which aims to support multilateral research collaboration to address global challenges.

Prof Dragan Savic at CWS is the coordinator of the consortium, supported by Prof Ni-Bin Chang at UCF and Prof Binliang Lin at THU. The project aims to investigate the future flood impact as the consequence of the combination of urban development and climate change in three mega cities - London, New York and Beijing. Two of them are coastal cities facing threats from both heavier precipitation and sea level rise.

An urban growth model will be developed using the satellite sensor data and the artificial intelligence techniques to detect the changing trends of urban sprawl and to project future urban growth scenarios in these three cities. The parameters derived from the urban growth model will be used in hydraulic modelling to assess the flood impact for the whole city in the 2050s.

The state-of-the-art hydraulic models will be set up to simulate flooding in complex urban environment with high spatial resolution. The multi-disciplinary collaboration will bring the experts from the UK, the US and China together to create an operational framework for analysing flood impact associated with various urban development conditions and climate change scenarios at the mega-city scale. The results can inform urban planners about the potential increase of flood risk such that better urban development strategies can be developed and implemented to mitigate flood impact.

Funding bodies: Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Environment Agency, UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Scottish Executive.

The Flood Risk Management Research Consortium (FRMRC) is an interdisciplinary group investigating the prediction, prevention and mitigation of flooding. The project is being carried out over the period 2004-2008 and involves a number of UK academic institutions with a total budget of £5.7m, the Consortium employs 30 post-doctoral researchers and 12 research students (1 post-doc and 1 student at Exeter).

The Consortium is funded by the EPSRC, in collaboration with the Defra / EA Joint Thematic R&D Programme for Flood & Coastal Defence, UKWIRNERC and the Scottish Executive. The concept behind this innovative joint funding arrangement is that it allows the Consortium to combine the strengths of blue skies and near-market researchers and research philosophies in a truly multi-disciplinary programme.

The research portfolio has been formulated to address key issues in flood science and engineering, while being consistent with the objectives of the funding agencies. The ethos of the consortium is to encourage a holistic approach with research in most work packages conducted jointly by researchers from two or more areas.

FRMRC will address eight Research Priority Areas (RPA), identified as being of key importance by end-users and stakeholders at the workshops organised by EPSRC during 2002:

  1. Project management (integration of RPAs)
  2. Land use management
  3. Real time flood forecasting
  4. Infrastructure management
  5. Whole systems modelling
  6. Urban flood management
  7. Stakeholder and policy
  8. Geomorphology, sediments and habitats
  9. Risk and uncertainty

The Centre for Water Systems is engaged in RPA 6 Urban Flood Management, together with the Pennine Water Group (Sheffield), Imperial College (London) and University of Wales (Aberystwyth) and in collaboration with the University of Belgrade.

Urban flooding is caused by the drainage system being unable to cope with the volume of surface runoff and includes co-incident flooding due to both river and rainfall floods inundating urban areas. Floods in urban areas impact human habitats and are a risk to public health. There is a need for improved modelling to predict urban flood routes and the extent of flooding so that mitigation measures can be designed to cope with unwanted water surcharged from the sewer system. It is planned to develop new serviceability indicators for asset performance and remediation, and to quantify the impact of urban flooding on health.

Methodology and software under development at the Centre will be used along with other tools for simulation of urban flooding. The approach incorporates two specific concepts:

  1. Explicit modelling of water exchange between surcharged flow in a piped system and the surface flow on the streets during a flood, when these two systems form a multiple-looped network involving a complex interaction of flows.
  2. Application of advanced GIS-based analytic tools to predict flood flow paths by effective utilization of digital terrain models, detailed surface cover (land-use) images, spatially and temporally variable rainfall, and other data.

Flood risk management research consortium 2 - FRMRC2 has been formulated to address key issues in flood science and engineering and the portfolio of research includes the short-term delivery of tools and techniques to support more accurate flood forecasting and warning, improvements to flood management infrastructure and reduction of flood risk to people, property and the environment. A particular feature of the 2nd phase is the concerted effort to focus on coastal and urban flooding.

Find out more on our dedicated webpage.

Funding body: ERASMUS scheme (European Community)

This project presents an application of Neural Networks (NNs) to rainfall-runoff modelling. Applications of the neural network technique in this domain of hydrology have so far provided accurate results for small storm events on theoretical catchments (Minns & Hall, 1995). The aim of the research presented in this report was to investigate the application of NNs, as 'black-box' models of rainfall-runoff processes, on real catchments. The NN approach is tested and compared to optimised conceptual hydrological models applied to a catchment over a period of several years. At the same time, all tests and experiments were done in parallel with a Genetic Programming technique (Cousin, 1997).

Thus, the performance of both data-driven methods could be compared to the model-driven approach (conceptual models). This report demonstrates how a NN and GP can be set up to obtain the best results given the necessary input data. The study revealed that the choice and preparation of calibration data sets are more important than the fine-tuning of the NN (choice of optimal parameters). Both GP and NN had similar behaviours and the final results were quite close to the model-driven approach results in terms of correlation and possible evaluation parameters.

References

  • Jacq, F. and D.A. Savic, (1997), Rainfall-Runoff Modelling Using Neural Networks, Centre For Systems And Control Engineering, Report No. 97/02, School of Engineering, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom, p.66.
  • Cousin, N. and D.A. Savic, (1997), A Rainfall-Runoff Model Using Genetic Programming, Centre For Systems And Control Engineering, Report No. 97/03, School of Engineering, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom, p.70.

RAPIDS: is a project to develop and demonstrate a tool to deliver rapid forecasting of urban flooding from manholes and other sewerage nodes. The project focuses on utilising machine-learning modelling tools that can also deliver acceptable levels of accuracy.  Simple transferability has been demonstrated through the UKWIR RTM project, together with a number of industrial partners, in which 3-case study cities were modelled and results assessed.

Exeter's involvement

CWS has developed the RAPIDS software (currently in MATLAB), which includes two programs: RAPIDS1, which addresses the need for a faster surrogate for hydrodynamic simulators for early warning of urban flooding from sewers, and RAPIDS2 (under development), which aims to provide nowcasting for rainfall over the catchment containing the modelled Urban Drainage network (UDN). It is hoped to be able to demonstrate the cascading of these two systems to provide the required urban flood predictive model, which can deliver operationally useful forecast times in excess of 2-hours ahead.

For more information see the RAPIDS poster

Partners:

View all of our projects related to our CWS research.