Rainwise – Northumbrian Water’s surface water management programme was established to address the goal of reducing the risk of future flooding to 7,200 properties across the North East of England by the end of 2020. It is a proactive approach to flooding – working in collaboration with stakeholders and local communities.
Following the flooding event in June 2012, when Tyneside received over 3-inches of rain in just over an hour, a pilot ‘Tyneside Sustainable Sewerage Study’ was set up – a national first where Northumbrian Water joined forces with other risk management authorities to share information, find benefits and identify projects to construct together to deal with catchment wide flooding mechanisms.
The principles of partnership working were expanded across the North East to create the Northumbria Integrated Drainage Partnership (NIDP). This provides a framework for multiple agencies to look for the best and most sustainable solutions to flooding and allows costs & benefits to be better understood and prioritized on a like-for-like basis.
The partnership projects share common characteristics and themes. They addressed catchment wide flooding and flow management, valuing SuDS and natural systems. All projects include scenarios which no single agency could have addressed alone or without detrimental effects to others. They have all been delivered with capital efficiency to the parties, primarily through jointly sourcing engineering consultants and contractors.
A key message of Rainwise is to raise awareness of SuDS and encourage people to make changes around their home that reduce the amount of water entering the sewer. By taking action communities can collectively affect their own resilience to future flooding. Local communities are involved in the planning stages of projects allowing better information and better solutions, providing context sensitive designs which are right for the business and the community.