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  • Understanding the risks associated with transitions in flood defence structures

    Assessing and managing risks with transitions in flood defence infrastructure
  • Assessing and managing risks with transitions in flood defence infrastructure
  • Assessing and managing risks with transitions in flood defence infrastructure
  • Assessing and managing risks with transitions in flood defence infrastructure
  • Assessing and managing risks with transitions in flood defence infrastructure

Assessing and managing risks with transitions in flood defence infrastructure

HR Wallingford is leading an international consortium to help Risk Management Authorities, and the Environment Agency in particular, to consider the risks associated with transitions in flood defence structures.

The Consortium, made up of HR Wallingford, Royal HaskoningDHV, Deltares and IRSTEA, integrates current international knowledge and practice on transitions combined with working UK knowledge and practice on risk based tools for asset inspection and management.

Transitions in flood defence structures are locations where a change occurs in the defence. Within the UK, risk based approaches for assessing and managing flood risk at a local, regional and national level have been developed, but currently do not include the risk contributions made by transitions. This project will make a significant advance towards addressing these omissions.

Transition zones are areas of weakness within an overall system of flood defences and can be found at any location, on or within a flood defence where there is a change in flood defence structure or of protection revetment (slope or crest, road, etc.), in an internal cross section and in the construction or foundation materials. The transition zone is at the interface between two volumes or a line between two surfaces, where the processes of erosion (internal and external) and instability are promoted. If these processes are undetected, or left unchecked, they can ultimately lead to flood defence failure and breach.

Currently, the presence of transition zones is not uniquely accounted for, and the performance of a flood embankment, for example, is simply based upon an assessment of its design and condition along a specified length. As such, risks arising from transitions are missed from local, regional and national flood risk assessments.

The objectives of the project are to: 

 The project will deliver four products:

  1. Improved guidance for the inspection of transition zones
  2. New methods and tools for the performance assessment of flood defences with transitions
  3. New methods to account for transitions in risk analysis of flood defence systems analysis
  4. Contents list for a new guidance supporting the design, maintenance and repair of transitions. 

These products will help to reduce risk to life and property, as defence performance is improved, and to better target resources through an improved understanding of risk.

The Consortium, made up of HR Wallingford, Royal HaskoningDHV, Deltares and IRSTEA, integrates current international knowledge and practice on transitions combined with working UK knowledge and practice on risk based tools for asset inspection and management.

A clearer understanding of the risks arising from transitions in flood defences will help to prevent flood defence failure, reducing the risk to life and property, and to better target resources to improving the performance of defences.

A clearer understanding of the risks arising from transitions in flood defences will help to prevent flood defence failure, reducing the risk to life and property, and to better target resources to improving the performance of defences.

Contact

Marta Roca Collell

Marta Roca Collell

Principal Engineer

+44 (0)1491 822303

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