Halcrow implements flood mitigation solution

Posted On 09 Sep 2013
Comment: Off

Halcrow has implemented risk analysis software from Palisade as an element in its programme to mitigate the consequences of severe flooding in the UK. The package is used to quantify the uncertainties in Halcrow’s process that determines the risk faced by critical assets such as water treatment works and pumping stations, and weighs it up against the cost of appropriate preventative measures. Halcrow identifies the likelihood that a site will be subject to fluvial flooding and quantifies the vulnerability and consequence of failure for each asset. Recommendations to improve flood resilience may include adaptive solutions, such as designing structures to reduce the consequences of flooding by facilitating recovery from it. Alternatively, resistance, which aims to prevent flooding in the first place, might be more appropriate for some sites. The @Risk solution plays a key role in quantifying the certainty with which forecasts can be made. Rectifying the consequences of a flooded water treatment plant can be very expensive. Physical damage to pumps and equipment needs to be repaired, and there are additional costs that may be incurred, such as bottled water supply while the plant is out of action, and customer compensation for lack of service. Working out the costs of these consequences helps determine the right solution for the individual site. However, it is difficult to quantify the exact costs so @Risk is used to quantify the variations in the figures. The software is also used to measure levels of uncertainty for other key aspects that have a bearing on the eventual outcome. For example, there are uncertainties around the direct damage costs and the expense of responding to customer contacts associated with the incident. At the same time it is important to understand the level of uncertainty in the costs of intervention, such as building a floodwall. Fluctuations in the cost of borrowing money must be accounted for as these may have a significant impact on the final expenses. Using @Risk, Halcrow can demonstrate how decisions on the best course of action to take for a critical water industry asset can be informed by quantifying the uncertainty. ‘Serious flooding having a major impact on water services is a very real possibility in some areas in the UK” and this has been demonstrated in recent years,’ stated Alec Yeowell, asset management engineer at Halcrow. ‘We set out to understand what it was realistic to mitigate against and achieve in terms of the costs and benefits of improving the current levels of resilience. The nature of the task means that each stage of the calculation is subject to uncertainty.’

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.