Press Office


Flooding to the movies


On the first anniversary of ‘Thunder Thursday’ flood agencies, academics and businesses from across the region put the importance of forging stronger partnerships to tackle flooding in the spotlight.

The extreme weather on June 28 last year left the North East reeling as it flooded homes and businesses, causing millions of pounds worth of damage and traffic chaos and testing emergency services, flood agencies and utilities to their limits.

It heightened the need for more of a collaborative approach to adapt to the changing climate and to deal with extreme weather events.

Now a film highlighting the research being carried out by Newcastle University and the work being done by Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency to mitigate the impacts of flooding has been showcased in the North East.

FLOOD FORCE – finding solutions in better company’, produced by Northumbrian Water, Newcastle University and Living With Environmental Change (LWEC), was premiered today at Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle.

Designed to highlight the important role the business community has to play in combatting flooding, the film details Newcastle University’s research and flood model which predicts where flooding will happen and how to lessen its impact by, for example, replacing hard surfaces with permeable surfaces.

Linking the model with information about Northumbrian Water’s vast 30,000 kilometre sewer network and from the Environment Agency, to provide more detailed flood maps and models, is a major step in the region’s battle against flooding.

Newcastle University’s professor of climate change and hydrology, Chris Kilsby, said: “In the future, frequent heavy downpours are likely to lead to costly flooding unless UK cities take action to manage surface water runoff.

"Our work on the frequency and impacts of extreme rainfall began over twenty years ago, largely as “blue sky” scientific research.

"It is very satisfying to see the results being recognised and used by our industry partners now, to deal with real problems faced in our cities both now and in the future.”

The film also highlights Northumbrian Water’s changing approach to dealing with storm and surface water and businesses that are at the forefront of using sustainable options, such as creating ponds, to manage extreme weather events.

Northumbrian Water’s wastewater director, Richard Warneford, added: “Our wastewater and customer service teams were pushed to their limits on ‘Thunder Thursday’. The cost to our business is in the region of £28 million. This is in addition to £120 million that we will spend on flooding between 2010 and 2015.

“We are thinking about new and innovative ways to avoid surface water entering our sewer network and to enable this partnership working is vital."

Northumbrian Water and Newcastle University won a national competition run by LWEC to produce a film that tackled a key environmental issue, through partnership working with a focus on a specific audience.

published on: 28 June 2013