Articles & Case Studies

Hydro-Logic Helps Historic Tenbury Wells Avoid Flooding Blight

Posted: Thursday 26th May 2011

Tenbury Wells has historically been prone to flooding, but recently the frequency of flooding had increased to the point where it could become an inhibitor to the prosperity of the town. To avoid this the Tenbury Flood Task Group (TFTG) was formed, appointing consultants Hydro-Logic to survey the threatened properties and identify suitable flood-protection measures.

It was decided that the answer in the short term was to develop a “property-level” flood alleviation solution, in line with the DEFRA scheme which enables councils to bid for money for the protection of domestic properties at a 1 in 20-year flood risk. Tenbury submitted a bid and received a grant of £125,000 to protect 23 properties, to cover two activities: a comprehensive survey of properties at risk of flooding and the provision of flood alleviation solutions to those properties.

On the basis of the grant, the TFTG decided to go beyond the DEFRA limitations and survey over 200 properties thought to be at risk of 1 in 100-year flooding and in April 2010 the TFTG appointed Bromyard-based consultancy, Hydro-Logic Ltd. to carry out a full flood risk assessment of each of the properties.

Hydro-Logic’s first step was the development of a database to contain all the relevant information relating to each property, its location, flood levels, etc. This database is one of the most important benefits of Hydro-Logic’s strategy as it provides Tenbury with a vital decision-making tool for the future.

At the same time, Hydro-Logic also validated hydraulic models, resulting in a list of properties in each of the 1 in 20/50/75/100-year flooding event risk levels. The team then undertook a building-by-building survey of over 200 properties. Survey forms were completed and a list made of all resistance and resilience measures needed to provide protection. Thresholds and floor levels of each property were integrated into Hydro-Logic’s modeling system to estimate the level of water in different types of flood and from that information identify the most appropriate method of protection.

The Hazard Mapping model framework was used to examine three additional scenarios: the 20/50/75-year Climate Change, and modeled levels were obtained for each property in the database, forming the basis for the evaluation of flood depths for each building.

One of the prime objectives of the project was to obtain costs of procuring and installing the flood measures identified during the survey and the spreadsheet database was designed to ensure that it is a relatively simple task to establish the relevant costs for a property or group of properties.

In such an historic town, many of the buildings are listed, so any proposed flood defences have to take into account the importance of maintaining the attractive streetscape. To this end, a meeting was held at an early stage of the project to agree a protocol for dealing with Listed Buildings and properties within the Conservation Area.

As with any project of this type, participation is voluntary on the part of the building owners and tenants and therefore considerable pro-active communication about the project was undertaken to obtain community “buy in”. Throughout the process the Town Council has been closely involved, helping to distribute leaflets and conducting a survey to understand the community’s views on funding.

Ultimately the purpose of the project has been to help Tenbury combat the threat of economic blight due to the flood risk, by providing property owners with the necessary information and some financial support towards providing suitable and effective flood defence and alleviation measures.

The immediate benefit of the project has been the creation of a complete, up-to-date survey of all the properties at risk of flooding, together with a comprehensive set of unit prices for flood defence and alleviation measures, which can be used to make financial decisions.

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