Flooding can be a menacing problem, with a complex and tangled array of ‘causes’ and ‘effects’. The downstream effects can result in costly damage to property, human health impacts and, in extremes, even loss of life. Attributing, understanding and mitigating cause can be incredibly difficult but some of the solutions can come from custodians of the land – commonly farmers and catchment managers. The challenge is coordinating and developing a sense of common ownership of the solutions at the catchment community scale.
This work package focused on three exemplar catchments, the Dyfi (Wales), the Eden (England), and the Tarland (Scotland). In each catchment a community was developed and nurtured in order to help define the problems and clarify the potential solutions. Having listened to the feedback the EVO team developed a series of web-based portals that allowed the catchment managers to learn about the nature of the flooding in their catchment, and to determine ways to solve the problem, perhaps by modifying choice of land use. For example, using farm ponds to buffer water flows.
The benefit of this work is that scientists and catchment managers have progressed towards a common and shared understanding, and a set of potential solutions, for flood management in rural catchments.
EVO has provided a mechanism for engaging and informing the communities within catchments. This information and other lessons learned can help inform the design and implementation of future web services.
There is considerable potential to improve and develop the approach, with more localised farm and farm-specific approaches that, for example, could focus on particular farm or land-use typologies to solve a particular problem.