Flood Alleviation:Engaging the Communities We Protect

We believe that - to succeed - flood prevention projects need to involve the community they are defending, and add value above and beyond flood control.

Flood & Coastal Services

Black & Veatch has a close working relationship with our clients, delivering award-winning projects that increase river and coastal flood protection for communities and critical infrastructure. Effective stakeholder engagement is at the heart of everything we do. Our use of innovative digital tools such as augmented virtual reality brings complex problems and solutions to life, and our deliberative approach provides affected communities and stakeholders with a say on the development of solutions, creating a positive legacy beyond flood protection. Using our proprietary FDEM model and expertise in Ecosystems Services Valuation we are maximizing the benefits of schemes to develop robust business cases, including the £600M River Thames Scheme.

Whole Life-cycle Expertise

Our consult-deliver-manage capability allows us to support any point in the life-cycle of a flood prevention asset, this is what sets us apart.

  • Feasibility Studies and Business Case Preparation

    Spending time and effort at the inception of a project can bring real value later on. This can come from defining the problem, considering a variety of options and undertaking informative investigative works. Developing feasibility appraisals for flood alleviation schemes is a core activity at Black & Veatch and is supported by our modelling, environmental, geotechnical, economic evaluation, funding realization and engineering teams.

  • Complex Innovative Hydraulic Modeling

    Our river modelling team of hydrology, hydraulic modelling and flood mapping experts has extensive global experience using 1d, 2d and 3d modelling techniques to optimize solutions.  Our ability to tackle complex problems and explain the issues and outcomes to anyone has been invaluable in high profile schemes such as the Somerset Levels Emergency Response and the River Thames Scheme where the outputs from the largest model of its kind in Europe was clearly explained at public meetings.

  • Environmental Services

    Our extensive range of environmental services, that include Environmental Impact Assessments, ecological surveys and consenting advice, play a critical role in delivering sustainable flood alleviation projects.  As part of our design for the Northwich town centre flood management scheme, we prepared a Landscape Charter and Visual Amenity Assessment for the Environment Statement, which enabled the delivery of a visually attractive scheme. In the Derby “Our city our river” Project, Black & Veatch completed the assessment of impacts of the preferred design and considered the impact on vulnerable communities along with the archaeological effects on historically sensitive locations. The approach adopted by the team was credited by English Heritage as best in class.

  • River and Coastal Engineering

    Flood alleviation for rivers, waterways and coasts can be achieved through a variety of engineering solutions. This can include flood protection through the upgrade of defenses as was the case in the Nottingham Left Bank Flood Alleviation Scheme, through to realignment of the sections of the watercourse. Where possible we seek to achieve additional benefits through river restoration or natural flood management solutions.

    In addition to river schemes our structural design skills have been used by coastal project clients. This includes the design of coastal structures such as the rock groynes as part of the Felixstowe defence scheme and hard coastal defenses in North Devon.  For the Minsmere Flood Risk Management Scheme a business case was prepared for a solution that allowed natural coastal change to occur in an environmentally sensitive location. This was in response to a rapidly eroding coastline under risk from climate change.

  • Sustainable Solutions

    Delivering sustainable solutions has always been a high priority for us as demonstrated by the multiple award-winning Banbury Flood Alleviation Scheme where passive control structures were designed to manage floodwater.  In this innovative solution the design avoids the need for any moving parts minimizing the need for operational, maintenance and debris clearance activities.  Set within a landscaped embankment and new meandering watercourse using materials won locally from the site this project was recognized for its outstanding sustainable design. 

  • Asset Management

    Our asset management expertise, and data analytics and digital visulation tools, are helping clients develop real-time performance-based asset management programs, leading to identification of critical assets and significant savings in reactive maintenance.

Featured Content


Banbury Flood Alleviation Scheme

Banbury, UK


In 1998, heavy rain caused a flood in the Banbury community which closed the railway station and many roads. Approximately 125 residential and 35 commercial properties were affected, resulting in more than £12.5 million of damage. Another flood in the summer of 2007 reinforced the need to fully implement a flood alleviation scheme.




Felixstowe Coastal Defence

Suffolk, United Kingdom


Felixstowe, on the Suffolk coast, is at risk of flooding during times of high surge tides. Existing coastal defences were nearing the end of their useful life, with many of the groynes no longer effective at retaining the sand on the beach. This led to lowering of the beach and undermining of the seawall. Improved coastal defences were urgently needed.




Minsmere Flood Risk Management Scheme

RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve, Suffolk, England


The Minsmere Nature Reserve is internationally designated as a Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Ramsar Site (wetland of international importance). It is located on one of the UK’s fastest-eroding coastlines. But resisting coastal change through hard-engineering is often not the most sustainable solution.




Somerset Levels Flood Alleviation Work


In early 2014, the region experienced some of the worst flooding in recent times. Black & Veatch professionals were central to the fast-track completion of a UK flood alleviation works – delivered at a sometimes exhausting pace.




Flood Management: When Less Can Be More


In an age of austerity in which public funding for flood defences is being stretched as far as possible, the question of whether there are ways of cutting expenditures and providing a more sustainable future must be posed. The answer, fortunately, is yes, in the right circumstances.




GIS: Bringing Data to Life


Geographic information systems (GIS) allow users to see geographic aspects of a body of data in ways that can be interrogated and manipulated - with a combination of speed, flexibility and detail - that has not been available previously. Consequently GIS brings the ability to visualise, question, analyse, and interpret data; to understand relationships, patterns and trends – sometimes in wholly new ways.




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