How can we work with nature to reduce flood risk?

19 October 2018 by Sylvie Kruiniger

Our new video explores how using nature to manage flooding can make a real difference to protecting communities.

Simple changes to the landscape and rivers can slow raindrops down as soon as they fall from the sky and start to travel across the land. That can make floods less severe and give people more time to prepare before they hit.

Subtitles (closed captions) are available once the video is playing.

Traditionally we might think of 'defending' towns where floodwater might hit, with barriers, gates and dams. But with extreme rainfall increasing, those defences may need some help. Natural flood management is about holding water further upstream and in the landscape. Lots of different measures are built along the river and into the landscape to help limit the height and speed of the water.

One of our programmes, the Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP), is working on how that knowledge can benefit Yorkshire. Researchers are focusing on the area around the River Ouse, looking at how water drains into it. It's a huge area, it makes up a third of Northern England, home to 6·7% of the UK population and 30% of the 'Northern Powerhouse' region.

The area is facing some complex and costly challenges: flooding and drought, soil and water degradation, as well as good farming land and important ecosystems being lost or damaged.

What we find out here will help other areas in the UK and around the world.