NRW playing a key role in delivery of a 25-year vision to help predict and manage flood risk

  • The roadmap brings together the views of more than 100 experts from over 50 organisations
  • It will be used to be used to inform how we adapt to flood risk from our rivers, surface water, groundwater and reservoirs

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is working in partnership with experts from across the UK to develop a flood hydrology roadmap and set out a vision to help scientists and practitioners better predict future flood events and improve flood resilience across the UK.

Released today, the flood hydrology roadmap brings together the views of more than 100 experts from over 50 organisations with the joint ambition to improve hydrological data, models and science which can be used to inform how we adapt to flood risk from our rivers, surface water, groundwater and reservoirs.

These models will underpin flood risk management for decades to come, with benefits to areas including:

  • design and maintenance of flood defences;
  • national and local flood risk assessment and mapping;
  • the design and operation of flood forecasting and warning schemes;
  • design and operation of sustainable drainage systems; and
  • understanding the impact of climate change on future flood risk.

The roadmap will also help us understand the impact of climate change on flood risk and will support modelling of past and future climate change impacts.

The Environment Agency has already secured £6.9 million over six years to start delivering on the roadmap and is working with Natural Resource Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Department for Infrastructure Northern Ireland and UK Research and Innovation to identify routes to further funding.

Dr Sean Longfield, Lead Scientist on Flood and Coastal Risk Management Research, for the Environment Agency, and an author of the report, said:
“This roadmap provides us with a fantastic opportunity to better understand the science behind flooding and will be an invaluable tool in helping us understand future flood risk.
“The Environment Agency is working hard to ensure recommendations from the roadmap are followed up on so we can develop the next generation of flood hydrology knowledge, methods, models and systems that will underpin flood and coastal risk management for decades to come.”

The roadmap is intended to cover England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland from 2021 to 2046. A Flood Hydrology Roadmap Governance Board has been established to ensure the roadmap is taken forward.

Andrew Wall, National Flood Risk Services Manager at Natural Resources Wales said:
“Hydrology underpins everything we do to estimate long-term inland flood risk and plays a crucial role in informing how flood risk management authorities like NRW target efforts and investment to reduce that risk to people and property.
“The increasing frequency of extreme weather events and severe flooding in Wales over recent years has rightly put the spotlight on the importance of understanding how our rivers, lakes and reservoirs respond to heavy rainfall.
“It’s crucial that the latest data and analytical methods we use fully considers the impacts that an ever-evolving landscape and climate change can have on flood risk. We have welcomed the opportunity for agencies across the UK to come together to review flood hydrology and develop a roadmap for future improvement to our data and techniques. NRW is looking forward to continuing to work alongside our partners in this important effort and playing a key role in the development and delivery of the vision for flood hydrology across the UK.”  
  • The report will be available to view here: flood hydrology roadmap
  • The flood hydrology roadmap aims to set out a 25-year vision for flood hydrology in the UK and an action plan to realise that vision. The roadmap project has been led by the Environment Agency on behalf of the UK flood hydrology community.
  • Flood hydrology is a subset of hydrology that specialises in aspects of the water cycle related to flooding.
  • Successfully achieving the vision of the UK flood hydrology roadmap will require strong leadership, and improved partnership working and collaboration across the flood hydrology community.