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Flood

Flood risk

Our teams of experts have modelled, designed and delivered flood management schemes around the world, from the mountainous terrain of Hong Kong to the lowlands of the Netherlands and the UK. We employ state-of-the-art mapping and modelling techniques to deliver effective, economic and sustainable flood management schemes for urban and rural areas.

We’ve been very impressed by the professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm by the whole team… It is the way you deliver this service, working in partnership on our vision for the coastline that sets you apart from many consultants


John Ray, Environment Agency Project Manager

We've been responsible for the design and construction supervision of many flood control works which incorporate innovative methods to alleviate flood damage. We've also undertaken many assignments using novel and carefully considered approaches to flood risk management that concentrate on the environmental, sociological and sustainability issues fundamental to a holistic flood management strategy.

Our experience in creating and using mathematical models means we are at the forefront of hydraulic, sediment and water quality model development and the simulation of surface water systems. We've developed powerful in-house mathematical models for simulating unsteady flow and water quality parameters in rivers, lakes and estuarine systems and for investigating surface water flooding. We also use a wide range of commercially available modelling software packages, depending on our clients' specific requirements.

Our team has pioneered the use of 2-D and 3-D models in commercial flood modelling. As we understand their mathematical basis, we know their limitations and can implement them. Flood forecasting is crucial. With heavy rainfall becoming more frequent and sea levels rising, it is vitally important that people are prepared for flood events. We have been at the forefront of using new techniques, such as Physically Realisable Transfer Function (PRTF) methods, which incorporate forecast rainfall data to improve forecasting on small ungauged and ‘data-poor’ catchments.

As well as understanding risks faced by current developments, new developments need to be built in safe locations. We carry out flood risk assessments for a range of clients, including water companies, power companies and National Grid.

We develop innovative solutions which add value whenever possible. To this end, we've developed several tools including coastal overtopping analysis, coastal flood forecasting off-line and live tools and 3D flood visualisation.

How we've added value

Water and wave overtopping tool (WWOT)

Automatic insight into coastal overtopping

Understanding coastal flood risk is essential to responding effectively to extreme weather events. An extreme tidal surge event at the end of 2013 inflicted significant damage on a 90km stretch of the UK’s Humber/east coast comprising a range of coastal defence profiles, types, heights, materials and orientations. Further high tides were forecast in January 2014 with insufficient time to repair the damage, so the UK Environment Agency needed insight to inform its emergency planning and response.

We developed our innovative WWOT within a very short period to assess the flood risk in light of the damaged coastal defences. With one click, WWOT can automatically and simultaneously calculates overtopping rates for all specified defence types, all predefined flood defence conditions, over any length of defences, and under multiple scenarios at once – including extreme tidal surge or climate change conditions.

Rapid access to insight

It automatically generates flow hydrographs over the entire tidal cycle, and for the whole specified range of wind direction and force values. This functionality far outstrips the previous available tool in complexity and speed.

Better risk management

We provided decision makers with a detailed, nuanced analysis in time for an effective emergency response. WWOT offers huge value in coastal flood forecasting, warning, coastal flood risk assessments or defence design projects anywhere in the world.

Our projects

Exe estuary modelling – Our expertise in modelling came to the fore during this project which involved flood mapping of a number of tidal and fluvial events along the Exe Estuary and producing maps and animations from the model results. In addition to still water tidal analysis, we undertook a thorough investigation of wave overtopping which gave added benefit to the client.

The Environment Agency said the project "changed our view of the estuary and our subsequent management of flood risk will be improved with much better evidence now available to us”.

SMART Tunnel, Kuala Lumpur – Kuala Lumpur’s Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) is a unique solution to the capital’s long-term traffic and stormwater management problems and the first of its kind in the world. The 11.8m diameter dual-purpose tunnel diverts floodwaters away from the confluence of the two major rivers running through the city centre while its central section doubles up as a two-deck motorway to relieve traffic congestion into the city centre. We carried out both the feasibility and detailed design of the project, working with local consultants.

National Reservoir Inundation Mapping, UK – We developed a new methodology for dam breach modelling and mapping. This approach, which costs 10% of conventional modelling approaches, led to a £18M cost saving to the Environment Agency. We identified potential areas for innovation and then worked closely with the software developers to implement these, making it possible to meet the very strict time and budget constraints. Our work received plaudits from Defra, the Cabinet Office and the Environment Agency for our performance, innovation and services.

National Grid Flood Resilience Programme, UK – This project involved carrying out flood risk assessments for substations, producing initial design of flood defence schemes where appropriate and acquiring the relevant consents. Through effective packaging and programme management we achieved a 25% cost saving.

Guddu Barrage Rehabilitation, Pakistan – We reviewed the configuration and operation of this 4445 foot long barrage in the District of Kashmore in the north of Sindh Province. We developed a hydraulic model to test a range of operating conditions and investigated the feasibility of constructing a hydro power plant at Guddu. The hydraulic modelling results were supported by results from a physical model constructed in Pakistan.

Lower Drini-Buna Flood Risk Assessment and Management, Albania – We conducted a full hydrological analysis before constructing a hydraulic model of the river system, which was calibrated and used to produce flood maps for a range of design flood events. We devised structural and non-structural flood management plans, which were tested using the calibrated hydraulic model. We also ensured that any potential adverse impacts on the environment and communities within the basin were considered. Preliminary designs of structural mitigation measures were prepared and costed, and an analysis undertaken to assess the economic viability.

Songhua Flood Management System, China – Working closely with the client, Songhua Water Resources Commission, we developed a comprehensive database, to support modelling systems, and developed hydraulic models. Flood alleviation measures were investigated and a flood forecasting system built. We also produced a decision support system to show the impact of alternative flood management strategies on the extent of flooding and provided technical assistance and training to support the implementation of the developed systems.

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