Making better use of local data in flood frequency estimation

Dixon, H. and Faulkner, D. and Fry, M. and Kral, F. and Lamb, R. and Macklin, M. and Prosdocimi, I. and Reed, D. and Rogers, P. and Sefton, C. and Stewart, L. and vesuviano, G. (2017) Making better use of local data in flood frequency estimation. Project Report. Environment Agency.

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Abstract

Flood frequency estimates are an essential part of flood risk management. They are an important ingredient of many important decisions, informing the cost-effectiveness, design and operation of flood defences, flood mapping and planning decisions in flood risk areas. They also inform the National Flood Risk Assessment, the setting of insurance premiums and long-term investment planning.
Methods described in the Flood Estimation Handbook (FEH) published in 1999, and many subsequent updates, are considered the industry standard for flood estimation in the UK. They are used extensively by hydrologists from both the public and private sectors.
Flood frequency estimates – also known as design flood estimates – are associated with many sources of uncertainty. These hydrological uncertainties often constitute the most uncertain component in any flood study. Uncertainty can lead to difficulty in having confidence in the outputs of studies, whether these are for investment planning, insurance, asset design, development planning or other purposes. As a result, there is considerable benefit to be gained from any reduction in the uncertainty of flood frequency estimation.
There are many supplementary sources of information that can help to refine estimates of design floods and potentially reduce uncertainty. Examples include long-term flood history, river level records, photographs of floods and information obtained from field visits.
These and similar types of information are defined as ‘local data’. The FEH Local
research project aimed to:
 quantify the uncertainty of design floods estimated from FEH methods
 develop procedures and guidance for incorporating local and historical data into flood estimation to reduce uncertainties
The primary objective of this report is to describe the reviews and research carried out during the FEH Local project.
Another output from the project was a document giving guidance to practitioners on how to estimate uncertainty in flood frequency and how to find and incorporate local data. The practitioner guidance, ‘Using Local Data to Reduce Uncertainty in Flood Frequency Estimation’, will be disseminated early in 2017.
This report aims to avoid duplication with the practitioner guidance and so is intended mainly for those with an interest in the background to the methods presented in the guidance.

Additional Information:Report – SC130009/R
Keywords:flood frequency, environment agency
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F810 Environmental Geography
F Physical Sciences > F840 Physical Geography
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
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ID Code:31632
Deposited On:18 Apr 2018 11:36

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