SAGE: Characterising the potential impacts of flooding on Thames Valley infrastructure

Science Advisory Group in an Emergency (SAGE)

We provided evidence to SAGE on the potential impacts of flooding on Thames Valley infrastructure after the winter 2013–14 floods (pdf, 360 KB).

During the winter of 2013–2014, Great Britain experienced a number of severe storms, resulting in widespread and persistent flooding. In addition to the flooding of around 6000 homes, the floods caused disruptions to critical infrastructures, which play a key role in supporting society and the economy. Transport infrastructure was badly affected.

In response to these events, we performed analysis that was presented as evidence to the Science Advisory Group in an Emergency (SAGE). The analysis utilised the ITRCs unique modelling capability that has been developed to enable the long term planning and adaptation of national infrastructure systems in the face of a changing climate. The ITRC National Infrastructure System Model (NISMOD) integrates network data from the energy, transportation, water, waste and digital communications sectors to provide a comprehensive model of the nations infrastructure. For the first time, this model represents the effect of interconnectivity and interdependence between infrastructure networks, which can result in failure at a particular location having disproportionate consequences. Recognising the central role that electricity occupies in supporting the national infrastructure, we provide a detailed mapping of the dependencies that airports, telecom masts, water towers and water treatment assets place on supporting electricity assets. Infrastructure usage statistics and census population data have been used to understand where large numbers of people are dependent on critical infrastructure. We integrated infrastructure system data with Environment Agency (EA) national flood risk assessment (NaFRA) outline maps to explore the potential disruptions associated with flood related failure within the Thames catchment.