Recent flood events in Europe, and worldwide, demonstrate that existing flood defence structures do not guarantee a sufficient protection level for people and properties.
New strategies aim for a more holistic approach to flood risk management; and to consider the uncertainties of a changing climate and increased urbanisation. The most important aspect of such strategies is their adaptability and flexibility.
The market has seen the emergence of the flood resilience (FRe) technology in recent years which involves the adaptation or construction of the buildings themselves, but it also includes the use of flood resilient technology that can be used to protect the building, including barriers, protection walls and flood products. The technology is typically temporary in nature or at most semi-permanent and it is mobilised typically when there is a flood warning or heavy rainfall is forecast. Such technology requires human intervention that may involve a householder or in more sophisticated flood technology the use of a specialised team from a local authority.
The Smarter Resilience, Tools, Technologies and Systems (SMARTeST) has developed, tested and integrated innovative small scale measures to increase the flood resilience of the built environment. SMARTeST was funded by the European Union through the FP7 programme in the area of Environmental Technologies. The research involved ten parts from seven EU countries. Therefore a range of different contexts were involved in the research.
The research was undertaken over the period of 2010 to 2013 and aimed to improve the ‘Road to Market’ of innovative FRe technologies. This project is a springboard to the use of the next generation of FRe-technology. Such technology may be based on automatic control, innovative materials and high levels of performance. This innovation will improve the effectiveness especially in the case of pluvial and flash floods where extreme short response time requires automatic deployment of FRe-systems. Through the involvement of commercial enterprises and service providers the research outcomes will be directly applied by the FRe industry and will especially trigger the development of new markets for the protection of urban infrastructure.
The project has the potential to make a significant beneficial contribution to flood risk management in Europe and will foster the development of more holistic flood defence systems which will lead in the end to flood resilient cities. The project has aimed to substantially reduce the damage, the costs and the health impacts associated with flood hazards.
You can find out more about the SMARTeST research findings that include decision support tools and guides to the technologies, by visiting the useful links.
Six steps to flood resilience, guidance for flood risk management professionals and property owners emerged from the SMARTeST project. You can read more about it by downloading the documents on the right-hand side.