Hull’s flood risk planning chief has welcomed news of the city’s successful bid to become one of five locations involved in a programme to develop a global framework for water resilience.
Rachel Glossop, the city council’s flood risk planning manager, said its work in trying to engage with companies to look at water in a different way and the fact the Hull is a very high flood risk which could be worsened by climate change, had formed the crux of its pitch to be recognised as one of ‘100 Resilient Cities’, after engineering consultancy Arup launched a competition last October.
Developed by Arup and The Rockefeller Foundation, the first phase of the City Water Resilience Framework (CWRF) project will be running until January 2019.
Hull’s selection sees it join Amman, Cape Town, Mexico City and Greater Miami’s beaches, in helping create a worldwide guide for assessing water resilience. It will give decision makers around the world a range of tools and measures to better inform their planning and investment.
The work will form part of the 100 Resilient Cities Programme, supported by the City Resilience Index (CRI) which has pioneered the concept of ‘resilience’ on a global scale.
“We are at a very high flood risk and climate change will make that worse,” said Glossop. “Hull is a city built on water, like most cities it is built around industry and employment, but it’s seen as a problem more so than as an opportunity. You can’t stop people being anxious, but you can reassure them that the damage will be less due to the flood mitigation we have implemented.”
The Yorkshire city has suffered extensive flooding in recent years due to rising sea levels, with 90 per cent of its land being below the high-tide line. In the 2013-2014 floods, repairs cost on average £240-370 million, and in 2007 approximately 95 out of 98 of its schools had to stay closed until summer.
Glossop added that as flooding is a joint problem, as it falls into several categories making it tricky to manage, for example the Environment Agency manages tidal flood risk and Yorkshire Water deals with sewer flooding.
But now, Hull has also been named the UK’s City of Culture 2017, and it is aiming to become a leading example in flood research.
Overall, the project’s aim is to increase the influence of cities to drive change and bring together stakeholders. The five cities selected represent a range of global water challenges in terms of diversity, population, geographic location and economic status.
Martin Shouler, CWRF project manager at Arup, said it was currently exploring how the resilience framework would operate. If it was a success it would allow decision makers across the globe to make interventions for resilience, understand the breadth of issues and determine the steps to take.
Andrew Salkin, senior vice president of city solutions at 100 Resilient Cities, said that out of 1,000 applications for the 100 Resilient Cities Network, more than 60 per cent indicated challenges with too much or too little water as critical resilience risks.