In April 2010, the Flood & Water Management Act became law in England and Wales. The Act aims to create a simpler and more effective means of managing the risk of flood and coastal erosion. Local authorities in the UK are using HydroMaster to help them with the local implementation of this Act.
An analysis of the summer 2007 floods in the UK identified clear gaps in the way that flood risk is managed, particularly in relation to surface water and groundwater flooding. It established the need for a more risk-based approach to reservoir safety. In addition, there is a need to adapt to climate change, which is predicted to increase flood and coastal erosion risks through rising sea levels, changing patterns of rainfall, flood flows in rivers and groundwater levels.
Responsibilities of Local Authorities
The Act ensures that, for the first time, one body is accountable for the delivery of coordinated local flood risk management so as to minimise the risk of a repeat of the floods of the Summer of 2007. Local flood risk covers flooding from an ordinary watercourse, surface runoff and groundwater. This local management role is given to County and unitary local authorities (LAs) which lead, and are accountable for ensuring, effective management of these local flood risks. The LAs, in turn, rely on information from other public and private bodies, such as Internal Drainage Boards, water companies and emergency services, which have a duty to co-operate and share information.
Wrexham CBC Flood Risk Management Plan
Wrexham County Borough Council has produced a Flood Risk Management Plan to assist in providing a clear and consistent approach to managing local flood risk. The Flood Risk Management Plan (FRMP) aims to quantify the scale of the risk of local flooding across the County Borough and identifies locally relevant actions and measures to reduce flood risk into the future.
To support its operations and planning, Wrexham CBC has implemented HydroMaster, an advanced water management tool, developed by KISTERS AG and MeteoGroup.
HydroMaster supports customers in limiting the impact of rain events on operations, assets, and infrastructures. The professional cloud service delivers weather information and forecasts to help local authorities, cities and municipalities, infrastructure owners and utility companies to be better informed about and prepared for flood events.
Managing precipitation events
“Wrexham CBC, on behalf of the six North Wales Authorities, has recently procured HydroMaster to assist in the delivery of duties under the Flood and Water Management Act”, says Neil Taunt, responsible for flood management at Wrexham. “The system gives us real-time access to rainfall distribution data and rarity that provides invaluable evidence when compiling section 19 investigations and contributes towards recommendations and potential mitigation intervention.
“To date, HydroMaster developers have been very receptive to suggestions and requests to improve or add new functionality to the system to aid the authorities in their duties. With time the system will also enable a more proactive operational response for smaller scale fluvial and surface water events as the response of local catchments and known flood hotspots is better understood. This will allow site-specific alerts and alarms to be refined to more efficiently respond to potential flood events.”
East Sussex County
East Sussex County Council’s Flood Risk Management Team acquired Hydromaster in 2017, following a trial of both Hydromaster and a similar product over the summer of that year. "Our team was looking for a service which fulfilled two very distinct needs: a reliable source of rainfall data which could be used to inform section 19 investigations as well as wider studies, and a reliable weather alert service which could be shared with communities at risk, as well as Highway Authority and Emergency Planning colleagues", says Nick Claxton, Team Manager Flood Risk Management at East Sussex.
"Hydromaster has a remarkably easy to navigate user interface and offers a high-quality weather forecasting service. We are at an early stage and have work to do on refining warning settings in order to reflect particular local conditions and embed it within service delivery. Nevertheless, we have a productive working relationship with MeteoGroup, which provides a high level of support to its customers."