CIWEM Rivers and Coastal Group Study Weekend

CIWEM Rivers and Coastal Group Study Weekend

Recently Lancaster University hosted the Rivers and Coastal Group Study Weekend organised by CIWEM.  The main aim of the weekend was to share knowledge and best practice across both the physical and social elements of managing flood risk.

Attendees included Lancaster University lecturers, current and past students, representatives from businesses and government agencies and staff from Newcastle University.

Lancaster University has a vast history in flood research making it an ideal place to hold such an event. Posters highlighting just a fraction of this research were displayed throughout the weekend and even included aspects of a project which won Defra’s modelling innovation competition.

Throughout the weekend delegates were able to chat over dinner and a pub quiz, listen to a series of talks on river and coastal flooding and participate in a sunny trip to Cumbria to see a river restoration scheme in Swindale Beck, Haweswater. If you ever get a chance to visit make sure you keep an eye out for Salmon! Even though the scheme was only completed in December 2016 Salmon have already been spotted in the Beck.

Dr Suzana Ilic Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University and Academic Lead for the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation delivered a talk on her research into the effects of coastal defence structures on beach dynamics and her long term monitoring used by the Wyre Borough Council.

Suzana praised the event and commented on how “the study weekend provided a great networking opportunity in a fantastic location” and “enjoyed chatting to a number of past students now working as consultants in the water industry.”

Ethan Wallace a PhD student who is currently researching natural flood management as part of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation also attended the event. Ethan is working in collaboration with the Eden Rivers Trust and commented on how the event was “really interesting” and “how it was clear that various stakeholders have to work together to mitigate flood risk.”

Ethan enjoyed listening to the talk from James Bathurst from Newcastle University and participating in the workshop which explored how natural flood management could be applied in Cumbria. He wasn’t best pleased with his performance in the pub quiz though and embarrassingly admitted that his team performed much better on the music round than the Geography round!

The main aim of Ethan’s research is to improve the evidence base surrounding the effectiveness of “natural” flood management techniques in a bid to inform future flood management in the River Eden catchment.

Ethan explained how “working in collaboration with the Eden Rivers Trust provides a great opportunity to relate research to real world problems” and how “working with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation provides a chance to develop an eco-innovative solution to flood risk”. This whole weekend was hugely relevant to the work that Ethan will be conducting over the course of his PhD and Ethan is really looking forward to participating in more events like this in future.

All in all this weekend was an informative and interesting experience and highlights the importance of knowledge exchange in finding solutions for flood risk management. Lancaster University and the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation provide great opportunities to drive Research and Development across flood risk management and the water industry and see collaboration as a key to success.

Jodie Hall, Francesca Dee, Kostya Vasilyev and Harriet Twohig-Howell from CIWEM did a great job at organising the study weekend and everyone is really looking forward to the next meeting!