PhD – Optimising the performance of Natural Flood Risk Management
With Durham University, Department of Geography, in partnership with Newcastle University and the West Cumbria Rivers Trust.
Natural flood risk management (NFM) has been embraced within UK policy (Pitt 2008, EU TR 2014) since it has the potential to reduce the risk from flooding but also provides wider environmental benefits, such as improvements in water quality and freshwater habitats. However, there remain fundamental knowledge gaps (NFRR 2016, EFRACOM 2016, Burgess-Gamble 2016, NERC 2016, Dadson 2017) including understanding:
- The performance of NFM interventions for different storm types;
- The best placement and organisation of measures within catchments.
This PhD project will be focused on addressing these two key issues. The outcome from the PhD project will be improved flood risk management that can be applied both within the UK and overseas.
This research project will be in collaboration with the West Cumbria Rivers Trust and they are the CASE partner. The Trust will be installing a suite of natural flood management interventions as part of the DEFRA catchment NFM programme. The Trust will facilitate access to these interventions as research sites and will support the student with local understanding of the catchments and relevant data. The trust also works closely with a range of local stakeholders and is well placed to draw in relevant expertise to the project and ensure that the research outcomes are shared effectively with all interested parties.
The PhD project will use a combination of monitoring and modelling methods to answer the research questions. To understand and test the performance of the different NFM interventions, a field hydrological monitoring approach will be used. The monitoring will be focused on the performance of the leaky debris dams in the channels, river restoration and storage areas within the case study catchments. To understand the best placement of the measures within the catchment and likely performance of different schemes, a simulation modelling approach will be used.