Flood defence infrastructure and management is a key part of what civil engineers do, and ICE's media team have been called on to provide commentary from ICE experts, including Past President David Balmforth, an accomplished civil engineer specialising in flood risk management and urban pollution control.
Professor Balmforth's analysis has been sought after throughout the current period of flooding, and he has been extensively quoted in several national news outlets including the Independent, The Guardian, The Times and The Economist as well as giving interviews to Sky News, BBC News and the BBC Today programme.
He called for communities and properties to be made more resilient in order to recover more quickly from flooding events which cannot always be prevented:
"Events like this serve as a harsh reminder of the finite capacity of our flood defences, and the destructive impact extreme flooding has on our communities. Cascade failure of infrastructure services such as power and transport further exacerbate the disruption.
"Government's commitment to invest £2.3bn in flood risk management over the next six years is welcome, but as extreme weather events become more frequent and unpredictable, we will need a more holistic approach to flood resilience.
"For example, local communities need a wider range of resilience measures so they are not solely reliant on conventional defences, we must adopt a 'systems' approach which tackles the 'domino effect' we see across the networks, funding for the maintenance of existing defences should be factored into spend plans from the outset, and where new development is proposed we should ensure resilience is at the heart of the design - not an afterthought."
During his most recent interview for Sky News, he told Presenter Anna Jones that homes built in flood risk areas should be made from materials more resilient to flood damage:
A news syndication service also interviewed David, and the filmed piece appeared on over 15 local news websites throughout the North West of England, in areas most affected by the flooding.
In total ICE reached almost 3.5 million readers via national print titles, over 4 million TV broadcast viewers and over 3.5 million national radio listeners, demonstrating ICE's position as the voice of infrastructure.
This is Civil Engineering
ICE Members are vital in helping promote the role of civil engineering in society and there are lots of ways to get involved including supporting ICE's 'This is Civil Engineering' campaign.
The campaign is a public awareness initiative that showcases civil engineering by displaying huge banners at a wide range of construction sites across the country. The banners show the public what civil engineering is and how the project will benefit the community. This could be through protecting homes and businesses from floods, ensuring drinking water is clean or providing the roads and railways that keep people connected.
Since the campaign was first launched in 2012, over 100 projects have joined - raising their 'This is Civil Engineering' banners and celebrating the vital role civil engineering plays in society. ICE is looking for more flood defence construction projects to feature in the This is Civil Engineering.
Professor Balmforth offers his thoughts on why flood defences failed against Storm Desmond in our Infrastructure Blog. The blog contains regular updates from across the world of civil engineering, reflecting the views of our staff, members and the leading infrastructure decision makers.