Professor says we must act now to prevent future flood damage

A professor has warned that the UK needs to act quickly to prevent future urban flooding.

Professor David Balmforth, technical director of MWH and one of Europe’s leading experts in flooding and wastewater management is calling on the government to take a stronger lead in promoting a more integrated approach.

He says: “If we do not grasp the opportunities
for change now, then the scenes of devastation of the last couple of weeks will become a regular occurrence.”

He says that evidence from major flood events shows that drainage systems and watercourses are overwhelmed early in extreme storm events.

This means that around 80% of flood flow, is conveyed on the surface causing indiscriminate flooding of homes and businesses.

Professor Balmforth adds: “Surface flooding is simply not being managed effectively.

“Engineers know that more can be done to manage flood water at source by containing it before it even enters drainage systems.

“Also, by better design and layout of the urban area, flood flows can be actively managed during extreme events to avoid much of the flooding we currently see.

“But this requires significant change to our current management strategies.

“We will have to design urban roads and pathways to act as flood channels and use open space and car parks for temporary flood storage.

“It may also mean that some parts of our urban areas may have to be sacrificed to flood water during extreme storms.