LANDWISE: LAND management in lowland catchments for Integrated Flood Risk Reduction

Investigators: Joanna Clark (lead), Anne Verhoef, Kevin White, Hannah Cloke, Keith Morrison, John Hammond, Martin Lukac, Ian Davenport, Angie Elwin, Maleki Badjana, Debbie Clifford, Barbara Percy, Rob Fry, Patrick McGuire (University of Reading); David Macdonald, Majidi Mansour, Colm Jordan (British Geological Survey); James Blake, Gareth Old (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology); Steve Rose, Ryan Jennings, Steve Maslen (JBA Consulting); Tom Nisbet, Samantha Broadmeadow (Forest Research); Chris Short  (University of Gloucestershire); Emily Trill (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)

Focus on: West Thames, Lowland Catchment with permeable geology

NFM measures: mainly land use and management, including soil management, crops and woodlands

LANDWISE will evaluate the effectiveness of realistic and scalable land-based NFM measures to reduce the risk from flooding from surface runoff, rivers and groundwater in groundwater-fed lowland catchments. We will study measures like crop choice, tillage practices and tree planting, that have been identified by people who own and manage land to have the greatest realisable potential. NFM measures will be evaluated for their ability to increase infiltration, evaporative losses and/or below-ground water storage, thereby helping to store precipitation to reduce surface runoff and slow down the movement of water to reduce peak levels in groundwater and rivers.

Currently, there are many unanswered gaps in knowledge that make it hard to include land-based NFM measures in flood risk mitigation schemes. Yet, land-based NFM measures have potential to do more than just reduce flood risk, including improving water quality, biodiversity and sustainable food and fibre production. We will carry out research to help to fill the evidence gaps.

There is a view that as the catchment size and flood events increase, the effectiveness of land-based NFM measures in reducing flood risk decrease significantly; land-based NFM measures only provide effective protection against small flood events in small catchments.  We will test this.

Alongside partners we will consider the implications of our findings for Government policy.

For more, see the LANDWISE website.