Natural Flood Management and Smart Flood Management

Waterco Consultants have the experience and skills necessary to provide natural flood risk management.

Flood Risk Management is Changing

The traditional approach to flood risk management, involving engineering solutions such as enlarged culverts and raised defences, is changing. Research suggests that a natural catchment approach to flood management is environmentally, socially and economically beneficial.

Natural Flood Management involves strategic tree planting (to create shelter belts) and the reintroduction of waterway storage to attenuate flows, reduce peak runoff and improve water quality.

The Waterco team has the experience and skills needed when undertaking this approach to water management and offers the following services to support these schemes:

  • project initiation
  • GIS mapping
  • hydraulic modelling – using MIKE 21 and MIKESHE by DHI modelling software to quantify catchment runoff
  • ecology and landscape advice – to specify and detail appropriate natural attenuation methods
  • stakeholder engagement and consultation
  • planning and land agent liaison – to negotiate and agree on works to be undertaken on private land which is remote from potential flooding area
  • option appraisal
  • funding opportunities
  • project delivery and management – developing and implementing complete flood management solutions in partnership with a variety of stakeholders

Case Study: SMART Flood Management – Flood reduction on the A548 Coast Road

For more information, visit our Smart Flood Management website.


Smart Flood Risk Management

Smart Flood Management is a catchment based approach developed from NFM.  It entails establishing the optimum way to keep waterways flowing without causing a flood, by calculating the minimum amount of water that needs to be ‘stored’ in the event of a rainfall event for instance – restricting the peak flow of the waterways using automated storage reservoirs and diversion measures in the upper catchment.

This reactive method relies on software and control technologies to run real-time simulations based on downstream flow and rainfall data to determine whether flood conditions are likely to occur. A signal would alert a controller and flood wardens to implement individual property flood protection and trigger flow attenuation measures. Peak flows would be intercepted only when needed and the stored water would be slowly released when the flood flow subsided.

Smart Technology

Smart technology is a combination of hardware and software to record data, run hydrological and hydraulic simulations and to control the flow of waterways.  This technology is a key part of ‘Smart’ Flood Management.

The process might start with a level sensor in the river to detect the rate of rise in water levels. This information would be relayed to a computer which would also be receiving rainfall radar data.  The computer would then run real-time simulations and predict whether the current characteristics indicated a risk of flood.

If there is a risk of flood, a signal alert would be sent to a nominated ‘controller’.  Flood wardens would also be advised so that any individual property flood protection could be put in place and checked. The data would be continually monitored and, assuming the early predictions were correct, the level rise would reach a ‘critical’ level, at which time flow attenuation would be implemented.  An actuated penstock would operate to divert flow from the watercourse into the storage area with the return flow restricted such that the storage area drained slowly back into the watercourse after the storm subsided.

Waterco’s specialist Designers have wide experience of developing Smart Flood Management approaches and can advise on existing sites or on those undergoing development.

Related Case Studies

Please click on an image below to view or download the PDF


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At Waterco our company vision is to improve the world with smart and sustainable environmental and water management.