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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N030419/1
Title: WATER RESILIENT CITIES:CLIMATE UNCERTAINTY & URBAN VULNERABILITY to HYDROHAZARDS
Principal Investigator: Beevers, Professor L
Other Investigators:
Prudhomme, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Anglian Water Environment Agency (Grouped) Experian
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency Scottish Government, The Scottish Water
University of the Sunshine Coast University of Warwick
Department: Sch of Energy, Geosci, Infrast & Society
Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 July 2016 Ends: 30 June 2021 Value (£): 1,043,765
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Regional & Extreme Weather Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Feb 2016 LWEC Challenge Fellowships Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Cities are the driver of regional, national and indeed global economies. The complex inter-relationship between urban areas and their hinterlands is a vital aspect of a city's economic success. Hinterlands supply resources such as water, food and energy; while being economically-tied to the urban area through trade. Creating resilient, sustainable, water-secure cities depends on our understanding of the potential future risks of changing hydro-hazards (floods and droughts) and our ability to increase our resilience to them. Worldwide, in 2014, hydro-hazards resulted in over $16Bn (floods) and $7.5Bn (droughts) in damages. While, in the UK over the past five years there have been significant challenges to water management posed by hydro hazards. Since 2000, flooding has caused over £5Bn worth of damage, of which £3Bn was caused by the 2007 floods, and over £1Bn from the 2013/14 winter storms, impacting households and businesses alike. Similarly direct costs (estimated at £70-165M) from the recent UK drought (2011-12) arose from impacts to urban water supplies, and industry. Projections of future climate recognise that there is an added uncertainty in temperature and precipitation trends which may exacerbate the frequency and severity of such hazards.

To respond to the stated challenge of transforming our cities to be resilient, sustainable urban centres and in the context of 'adapting to and mitigating climate change', I will quantify uncertainty in future hydro-hazards and design engineering/policy interventions to increase urban resilience which informs future urban water security adaptation for cities and their hinterlands. My fellowship will:

1. quantify future urban hydro-hazard uncertainty in a warming climate using novel techniques,

2. design engineering and policy interventions to mitigate the risk arising from these uncertainties, and

3. improve urban living through enhanced resilience to hydro-hazards.

I will achieve this by capturing uncertainty inro-hazard events and cascading this through to hazard assessment, challenging the current deterministic paradigm. I will characterise the vulnerability profile of newly exposed populations or sectors, and develop a ground breaking systems approach to ameliorate risk in order to design transformative resilience strategies. The delivery of this vision is challenging yet possible through combining advances in uncertainty quantification from a variety of fields, with my research which has consistently sought to challenge the deterministic paradigm. Awarding this fellowship will create a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of the role of climate projections on the systematic risk to urban living and how such risks can be addressed.

Output will include:

1. detailed understanding of the change to hydro hazards across the UK as a result of climate projections (and associated uncertainty), communicated in the context of climate variability,

2. probabilistic frameworks to capture climate uncertainty into assessments of systematic risk posed by changing hydro hazards at the urban scale,

3. analysis of the changing urban vulnerability, the uncertainty associated with this and exploration of the newly exposed population using new, and highly discretised vulnerability metrics,

4. a systems approach to urban resilience to changing hydro hazards, and

5. resilience strategies; e.g. transformative engineering interventions.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.hw.ac.uk