Working with Natural Processes
Concrete barriers and other “hard” defences, such as embankments, protecting homes from flood water are a common sight along rivers all over the country.
However, they cost millions of pounds to build, often require expensive maintenance regimes and are never 100% guaranteed to work for every flood event, becoming less effective as our climate changes. In addition, protecting one location can also move the problem onto somewhere else, often the next house, village or town downstream. The “means or desire” to construct these forms of flood defence is also reliant on the level of flood risk within any particular location and the benefits which can be derived for such a high cost approach.
There are other, more natural ways of reducing flood risk. These are based around how land and watercourses in the upper areas of a catchment is managed and form a core area of our work across both the Rivers Ouse and Adur. We have a wide range of experience in delivering effective schemes in both rural and urban settings and believe that co-creation, design and delivery with communities and landowners should be at the heart of these schemes.
Natural Flood Management (NFM)
To reduce flood risk downstream, NFM incorporates a wide range of techniques. These include land management to store water both in soils and on the surface, altering surface water pathways and in-channel flow regimes to hold back and de-synchronize the flow of water across the landscape. Our work shows that the right combination of measures, in the right place, backed by data, evidence and local knowledge can help to slow flood peaks and reduce the depth and duration of flooding.
At the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust our Project Officers have a wide range of experience in delivering landowner advice and working to ensure that any NFM scheme seeks to provide a range of wider benefits such as increased ecosystem resilience, improved water quality and soil health, drought resilience and community well-being.