14 Nov 2016

A team, led by Royal HaskoningDHV and including experts from Deltares, Nelen & Schuurmans and Delft University of Technology, is celebrating after receiving an innovation award for their entry into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)’s Flood Risk Management and Modelling Competition.

Thérèse Coffey MP and consortium representatives (Andrew Craig and Tijs van den Brink, Royal HaskoningDHV) | Royal HaskoningDHV

Image: Thérèse Coffey MP and consortium representatives (Andrew Craig and Tijs van den Brink, Royal HaskoningDHV)

The competition requested submissions in response to the question: If you were responsible for managing the Eden catchment in Cumbria, what flood risk management approaches would you recommend, and why? The winners were announced at a ceremony held at Defra’s offices in London on 14 November 2016 by Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Although the competition focused on management of the flood risk presented by the River Eden in Cumbria, ultimately it is hoped that the proposals put forward could identify tools and approaches which might be applied to other catchment areas facing challenges.

Jaap Flikweert, who led the submission, said: “We used this competition as an opportunity to investigate, alongside our partners, how a Dutch approach could be adapted and applied in a UK context, helping to develop solutions that work for the local communities. For our submission to be awarded a prize for innovation is a fantastic achievement and the result of a lot of hard work from all involved.”

“Competitions like this are a great opportunity for us to further explore partnerships both internally and externally and translate these partnerships into future working relationships.”

Innovative MAPtable

Our proposal took a multi-objective, opportunity-driven and collaborative approach to flood management, seeking additional social and environmental benefits in addition to reducing flood risk. Engaging with stakeholders is critical to applying suitable outcome measures, which are assessed using state-of-the-art modelling and the innovative MAPtable.

People using the MAPtable | Royal HaskoningDHV

Hand touching the MAPtable | Royal HaskoningDHV

Taking inspiration from the integrated nature of Dutch flood defence work our team examined the potential opportunities for adding social and economic value to the proposals they put forward for the River Eden, in particular for Carlisle.

3Di modelling

They also utilised 3Di, a revolutionary and ultra-efficient modelling suite for hydrological and hydraulic modelling, which allows live visualisation and scenario testing. The model can be used to test more scenarios, including during live workshops, because the simulations take minutes rather than hours.

The £3000 prize will be used to enhance and continue this innovative research and work on the associated technology.

The team are grateful to Defra and the competition sponsors (Aviva Insurance, Natural Environment Research Council and United Utilities) for this opportunity. The team hope that their submission will be the basis for practical application of Dutch expertise in a UK context and are keen to implement the proposed approach together with the Cumbria Flood Partnership and in other catchments in the UK.