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Tuesday 19 Jan 2016The Implications of the Evolving Flood Risk Management Responsibilities in the UK on Hydraulic Modelling in the Consultancy Sector

Simon Ainley - Arcadis Consulting UK

Harrison 170 13:30-14:30


The 2007 floods and the resulting legislation were a turning point for flood risk management in the UK.  The responsibilities of the various flood risk authorities subsequently changed, bringing into focus the necessity to work together to resolve all forms of flooding and enhanced the duty to cooperate.  The UK water and infrastructure consultancy sector has had the challenge of adapting its services, developing new practices and methods to facilitate collaboration and help develop innovative flood relief schemes.  Hydraulic modelling techniques have grown from academic research projects into powerful commercial packages, essential to a wide range of companies and authorities to evaluate, scope, design and appraise their infrastructure and plan continued improvement works.  Until the mid-2000s modelling was relatively polarized depending on the type of flooding and general mechanisms (i.e. ISIS for river modelling, InfoWorks CS for sewer modelling etc.).  New collaborative investment strands and project types have emerged and driven the development of ‘integrated’ modelling techniques and packages, such as InfoWorks ICM and Flood Modeller Suite, which have provided a whole swath of additional capabilities to the industry.  Surface Water Management Plans for local authorities and Integrated Urban Drainage Studies for water companies are two of the major new approaches being undertaken within partnerships, demanding the consideration of all sources and mechanisms of flooding and the delivery using these new modelling packages.  The increasing complexity of modern integrated models inevitably introduces new and complex uncertainties, demanding greater clarity of input data such as sites surveys, DTMs and historical information.  However, integrating the various approaches to hydraulic modelling, developed over a number of decades both academically and commercially, is now providing greatly enhanced tools to increase our ability to assess, understand and mitigate flood risk in the UK.



Simon Ainley is a champion of integrated hydraulic modelling in Arcadis Consulting UK.  He is the leader of the Urban Drainage and Planning Team based on Plymouth, and has delivered a range of flood risk and water infrastructure schemes, including Surface Water Management Plans, Water Cycle Studies, sewer upgrade schemes, Middle Eastern highway drainage design and Integrated Urban Drainage Studies.  

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