Event archive

Event Organiser: The Irrigation and Water Forum

Flood control in irrigation and drainage, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 21 February 2020
  • 13:45 - 17:00
Flood control in irrigation and drainage, London

Watch this event

Flood control is a core area of interest of ICID and IWF. Where flood control is practiced in agricultural areas, it contributes to crop productivity, to food security and to land management and rural development through the reduction of agricultural and non-agricultural losses.

Flood control is most commonly provided by investments in infrastructure, notably dams and flood dikes. Such structures enable floodwater to be diverted or stored and made available for agricultural and non-agricultural, including urban, uses. Increasingly, non-structural flood early warning systems are being employed. In the agricultural context, these provide an opportunity to optimise the operation of the physical infrastructure and maximise the water resource.

This meeting will discuss examples of flood control in the context of irrigation and drainage, and explore structural and non-structural approaches being taken in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Please note, you will need the following password to access the online broadcast: IWF210220


Duncan Faulkner

Head of Hydrology, JBA Consulting

Duncan is a hydrologist, specialising in flood hydrology. After five years of research on flood estimation at CEH in Wallingford, he joined JBA Consulting in 1999. Since then he has worked on a large portfolio of projects across the UK and Ireland, along with an increasing amount of work overseas, largely in Australia, Canada and south-east Asia. Current topics of Duncan’s consultancy and research work include application of non-stationary flood frequency estimation and improving methods of flood estimation for dam safety.

Even dams primarily intended for irrigation, other water supply or hydropower can have be beneficial in controlling downstream flooding. They can also find themselves blamed for causing or exacerbating floods. Recent legal cases in Australia and Ireland have highlighted the responsibilities of dam owners regarding flood management. Using examples from these cases, and from irrigation dams in south-east Asia, this talk will discuss some approaches to flood control using reservoirs and some of the practical constraints.

Giriraj Amarnath

Senior Researcher & Research Group Leader: Water Risks and Disasters, International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Dr. Giriraj is Research Group Leader: Water Risks and Disasters at IWMI, Sri Lanka, where he has worked since 2011. He is also Working Group Chair – Water Related Disasters, Asia Pacific Space Agency Forum. Dr. Giriraj’s main expertise includes disaster risk assessments, sustainability, hydrological process research and water resources management with focus on developing solutions for challenges to pressing climate risks.

Climate risks have always been a key vulnerability for smallholder farmers. Protecting against floods and providing risk cover against losses due to floods has been a major area of concern for governments around the world. Insurance is an important component in managing agricultural risks from these disaster events. For example, in India, nearly 30 million smallholder farmers are affected by floods every year. In 2016, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) through its CGIAR Research program CCAFS, WLE and ICAR, launched its Index-Based Flood Insurance (IBFI) for India and Bangladesh, which is designed to safeguard farmers in locations at high risk of flooding. IBFI combines hydrological modeling and new and freely available high-resolution satellite images from ESA and USGS. The scheme went live from 2017 to 2019 covering 1,200 households with a total insurance payout to eligible farmers of approx. INR 16,94,030. Another new initiative “BICSA – Bundled Solutions of Index Insurance with Seed systems and climate information for agriculture resilience” to promote the large-scale implementation of this integrated risk management approach can result in significant development in the agriculture sector. In summary, solutions from climate insurance have the potential to be a part of a more wide-ranging and multi-faceted approach to make sure that South Asia remains climate-resilient in years to come.

Darren Lumbroso

Technical Director, HR Wallingford

Darren Lumbroso is a chartered civil engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers who works in the Floods and Water Group at HR Wallingford. He has over 25 years’ experience undertaking consultancy and research into flood risk management, hydrological and hydraulic modelling, early warning systems and disaster risk reduction studies in low income countries. He has worked in some 40 countries worldwide including living for six years in Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa is affected by floods and droughts on an annual basis. Effective early warning systems (EWSs) can reduce the risks posed by these hazards. There have been numerous EWSs set up throughout Africa. However, work to assess their effectiveness has been limited and there are numerous challenges to increase the effectiveness of EWSs. This presentation will look at how policy makers can improve the effectiveness of EWSs in sub-Saharan Africa using Uganda as a case study. In Uganda there has recently been a proliferation of EWSs targeted at various beneficiaries. Based on engagement with some 200 stakeholders both in Uganda and throughout sub-Saharan Africa this presentation will suggest some solutions to the technical, organisational and institutional challenges which currently exist in many countries.

Ian Tod

Independent Water Resources Specialist, Cambridge

Dr. Ian Tod is an Independent Water Management Specialist who has worked extensively on finding community-based solutions to irrigation, drainage and flood management challenges. For more than 40 years, Ian has worked on a range of environments in South and Central Asia, California USA and the United Kingdom and has been an active member of IWF for many years.

The irrigation and drainage systems of the Cauvery Delta in Southern India have been developed over the last 1800 years using the overflow channels from the Coleroon River for both irrigation delivery and drainage of floodwater. The systems irrigate about 1.4 million hectares and the area is intensively farmed with paddy being the main crop. The most recent major adjustments to the systems were made about 90 years ago and, in the modern era, the systems have been subject to deferred maintenance for many years. The Tamil Nadu government with assistance from the Asian Development Bank is rehabilitating the main channels to mitigate the impact of climate change on flooding, water availability and cropping. Rehabilitation challenges include determining actual water use and distribution, accommodating higher flood flows within the same channels as lower irrigation flows, considering the contribution of groundwater, ensuring sufficient drainage capacity to pass floodwater through low lying coastal areas, and assessing the impact of sea level rise and changing coastal processes.

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Elira Alushi

e: [email protected]