Sharing knowledge at the British Hydrological Symposium

Earlier this year our colleagues attended the 14th British Hydrological Symposium, sharing their expertise around topics including Natural Flood Management (NFM), International Hydrology, Ecohydrology and Flood Estimation Handbook (FEH). Flood Risk Analyst Imogen Barnsley and Assistant Analyst Rhiannon Bryan have reflected on their attendance and the key takeaways from this year’s event.

Key speakers

JBA staff at BHS 2022

Alongside several of our JBA colleagues, hydrologists from across the globe came together presenting across a broad spectrum of topics. The start of the event saw Head of Adaptation Science for DEFRA stating that this year’s prolonged drought and high temperatures have led to scientists confirming that this weather is ‘outside the normal range for the UK’ due to climate change.

Day two of the event held more sessions around drought and ecohydrology with the key session of the day being the Floods and Droughts Research Infrastructure (FDRI) panel. This session saw discussion around a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) project which has secured £38 million worth of funding to facilitate research and innovation into making the UK more adaptable and resilient to floods and droughts. There was also a presentation from Assistant Analyst Rhiannon Bryan on ‘Grand Union Canal strategic resource option modelling.’

The second day heavily focused on larger scale NFM including a presentation from Flood Risk Analyst Imogen Barnsley on ‘Testing the application of NFM in a groundwater-dominated catchment and its resilience to future climate changes using the SHETRAN model.’

Outing to the Lake District

The final day of the event started with a trip to a gauge station, with demonstrations of flow measurement using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and drone. United Utilities (UU) then talked through catchment improvements to the Thirlmere Resilience scheme and the challenges they have faced.

‘This was a brilliant way to wrap up the conference, and a chance to get out into the Lake District was a welcome change from looking at catchments and gauges from my desk!’ Rhiannon Bryan – Assistant Analyst

Key takeaways – the importance of data

The key takeaway theme from this year’s symposium was that around data – how it is used, new sources of data, what data we need more of and how to monitor data. The talks of interest featured: the use of peaks over threshold (POT) in estimating design floods in comparison to annual maximum (AMAX). How to use drones and satellite data to estimate peak flows. Finally, the International Hydrology session which looked at practical hydrology and going back to basics in the face of limited or no local data.

‘Hydrometric data is the bedrock of our hydrological practice, and without good foundational data, we really can’t make good estimates.’ Imogen Barnsley – Flood Risk Analyst

Want to know more?

Visit the BHS 2022 webpage for more information on this year’s event and don’t forget to keep an eye out for full articles from Imogen and Rhiannon on the BHS Publications webpage.

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