Flooding is one of the biggest natural hazards affecting the safety and sustainability of communities across Wales.
Evidence suggests that changes in our climate will result in heavier and more regular rainfall, stormier weather events and rising sea levels. These factors are likely to increase the impact and frequency of flooding and we need to be prepared. We need to ensure that our decisions, operations and advice to Government and others are underpinned by sound and quality-assured science and evidence.
Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Research and Development Programme
To help meet our science and evidence needs, we work in collaboration with the Welsh Government, Environment Agency and Defra on the joint Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Research and Development programme.
The programme, covering England and Wales, aims to serve the needs of all flood and coastal operating authorities by providing key evidence to:
- inform the development of policy and strategy
- understand and assess coastal and flood risks
- manage flood and coastal erosion assets in a sustainable way
- prepare for and manage flood events effectively
Current projects in the programme that support our national flood risk management evidence needs include:
- Practical approaches to the transfer or decommissioning of assets – To produce a practical guide for those involved in the transfer or decommissioning of assets.
- Flood estimation in small catchments - Better flow and volume estimates are needed for catchments that have an area less than 25km2. This project is working to improve the representation of small catchments within the HiFlows-UK database and reviewing Flood Estimation Handbook (FEH) techniques.
- The performance of grass and soil in resisting erosion – To improve understanding of the performance of grass and soil in resisting erosion. This is the first step to update and improve the current guidance for designers and asset managers.
- Fish and eel passage at flood risk management infrastructure - This project aims to develop a new guide and supporting tools which synthesise the latest research, guidance and practical experience. This will help with the delivery and maintenance of fish and eel easement measures. This guide is of particular relevance to owners and operators of pumping stations.
- Putting People at the Heart of Impact Based Flood Warnings - Providing key evidence to develop informative and useful flood warnings that motivate those at risk to take appropriate action
Recently completed projects in the programme that support our national flood risk management evidence needs include:
- Working with Natural Processes - Provides information on the evidence base for natural flood management. This has been delivered through three interlinked projects:
- An Evidence Directory summarising the effectiveness of different natural flood management measures.
- Open access maps which can be used to identify the types of measure that may work in a catchment and where to potentially locate them (for maps covering Wales)
- A supporting guide which sits alongside these products to help develop business cases.
- Assessing the impacts of climate change on FCERM asset deterioration - To increase understanding of how climate change factors alter the vulnerability of flood and coastal defence assets to deterioration.
- Making better use of local data in flood frequency estimation - Provides up to date evidence, methods and practical guidance for assessing and reducing the uncertainties around flood estimates
- Residual uncertainty allowance – A guide to help assess and address uncertainty in flood and coastal risk management project planning and decision making
- Dam and reservoir conduits: putting safety first - Comprehensive guidance on the inspection, monitoring, investigation and repair of tunnels, culverts and pipes within dam and reservoir structures
Other research opportunities
We also work alongside the Welsh Government to seek additional opportunities to meet gaps in knowledge and evidence, for example through research council grants or by working with universities linking research activities with NRW programmes of work.
Recent examples are projects funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), where we have worked with others to support these projects and provide case studies:
Green approaches in river engineering – supporting implementation of green infrastructure New evidence-based support for asset managers, engineers, decision-makers and other end-users to support the selection and application of green engineering approaches for river protection.
Greening the Grey: A Framework for Integrated Green Grey Infrastructure (IGGI) Support for asset managers, engineers, conservation and biodiversity teams, decision-makers, and other end-users to help better identify integrated green grey infrastructure options.
Implementing knowledge gained from the outputs of these and other projects will ensure NRW continues to base its decision making on the best available science and evidence.
If you have any enquires, please contact us;
Customer Care Centre
Tel: 0300 065 3000 (Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm)
Natural Resources Wales
c/o Customer Care Centre
29 Newport Rd