What is Resilience?
There is often much confusion with the term ‘resilience’, what this means in regards to flooding. Resilience is “the ability to recover quickly from difficulties” (Oxford English Dictionary). “Flood resilience” would therefore be the ability to recover quickly from flooding.
This can also be related directly to physical measures you can take to reduce the impact of flooding on a building. There are four main approaches you can take to reduce the impact of flooding on your home or business, which are:
To read about the different types of flooding, please click here.
Resistance measures are designed to keep water out of your property. This is done by blocking all openings around the ground level of a property and preventing water from being allowed to seep through. This will include all openings, such as doorways and windows, as well as pipe and service entry points around the outside of the building. This approach should ensure that all entry points for water are sealed around the property. If there is even one place that water can enter the property, the resistance approach will fail and water will still enter the property.
This approach is only recommended to a maximum depth of 0.6m, as floods of depths exceeding this may cause structural damage to some properties. Flood resistance measure cover a range of products in order to seal all apertures around the edge of a building. A key example of this would be the use of flood proof doors – shown below as used in the Flood Resilient Repair Project.
For more information on the types of resistance measures available, please click here.
Flood resilience measures are not designed to keep water out of your property but are installed to try and reduce the impact of a flood. This can be done by incorporating water proof surfaces into your home and making some design changes that would limit the impact of flooding. This could include resilient kitchens that are designed to cope with the impact of flooding up to the 0.6m flood depth and raise any electrical items in your home above this threshold level. This will mean that in the event of a flood overtopping your flood defences water that does enter a property will not do as much damage to the building if it has been designed to be resilient. Property owners will therefore be able to return to their homes and businesses in a matter of days, rather than a matter of months.
To learn more about the flood resilience measures that are available in the UK, please click here.
Groundwater Protection Measures
Groundwater flood protection measures will prevent rising groundwater from damaging a property from beneath. This type of flooding is caused by rising floodwater from beneath a property through springs caused by increased rainfall. It will often affect lower lying areas as water will flow downslope but is affected and caused by the rock and geology of an area. These areas are often affected by surface water flooding too. Groundwater protection measures will prevent these water springs from rising into the property. An example of this is an impermeable membrane beneath the floors of your building.
Community Flood Protection Measures
Community flood protection measures are larger barriers usually offering resistance protection for several individual properties or a small area. This could include measures such as a large scale fixed (or even temporary) flood protection barrier along the edge of a river for example. These barriers range in scale depending on the type of flood risk and the area that they are protecting; from low walls right up to major flood barriers – such as the Thames Barrier.
These are normally funded by a regional environmental protection organisation. For the UK, this includes: the Environment Agency (EA) for England; the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) for Scotland; Natural Resources Wales (NRW) for Wales; and the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland. While the decision to implement these measures does fall to the regional organisation, as homeowners and business owners, you can write to your local authority to ask for these measures to be considered around your property.
Flood Guard, image copyright owned by Aquobex