Project outcomes and beyond

Specific outcomes

  • The biggest outcome are the lessons learnt because now the pilot project is replicable, it can be done somewhere else anytime.
  • Get the water butts ready for installation after overcoming all the struggles related to the tendering process and the liability of the contracts.
  • A 'Closure of Project Report' was written.

In the video below, the lessons learnt and outcomes of this pilot are summarized:

Process results:

  • The website,  a directory where companies advertise their products, is being redesigned right now. It belongs to the National Flood Forum. At the moment, only flood protection products such as barriers for the house are listed. The purpose is to make the whole concept of flood protection products much wider to include grey water system, permeable paving, leaky water butts, etc. Students are redesigning the website and changing the message of flood protection: we all are dealing with water; we all’ve got a role to play, what is my role? Well my role is to slow the water down; someone else’s role is to stop the water coming into the house.
  • Create a potential local flood group in Great Yarmouth area because there is none at the moment.
  • Manufacturers for supply and installation of water butts see the possibilities of this business to continue mitigating flood risk in other local authorities.

Flood risk management strategies (FRMS)

Layers of MLS Before FRAMES During FRAMES After FRAMES
1 Flood protection Wall defense (river + sea), pumping stations Not the focus of this pilot Not the focus of this pilot
2 Spatial adaptation See the Norfolk Local Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and the Great Yarmouth Surface Water Management Plan Not the focus of this pilot Not the focus of this pilot
3 Preparedness and response Low attention Place leaky water butts and/or raise flower beds at household/business level to capture, retain and slowly release rainwater A methodology in place to be used in Norfolk and elsewhere. Promote online the use of water storage devices (water butts, raised flower beds) among the communities

Build social capital creating a Local Flood Group to empower local communities to take actions themselves

4 Resilient recovery Not the focus of this pilot Not the focus of this pilot Not the focus of this pilot

Lessons learnt so far

  • Invest time up front, really early in the process to work directly with the community to build up trust, to build up relationships and make it effective.” It is better to first have legal requirements needed for developing the product before starting with informing and engagement local communities.
  • The uncertainties related to the requirements of the legal contract for the installation of the water butts was overcome with a lot of negotiation between the parties and time.
  • The uncertainties related to the contract with the householder were overcome creating a simple agreement that states that they will not get rid of the water butt and if something happens with it they will contact the manufacturer because they are responsible of the installation and maintenance.
  • It is very important and helpful for the community to also engage people who are not necessarily affected by flooding, citizens living in the higher areas for instance, because water can be captured before it reaches the flooding area. In this way, the not affected people are helping the community that does get flooded.
  • Get to know the needs of the community and selecting the right leakywater butts and raised beds to meet the requirements of the property and the preferences of the householder.
  • The National Flood Forum had a good detailed project planning  (very methodical rather than reactional) from the beginning of the project, using the steering group for major decisions and direction. The planning of the project didn’t change, only the timeline of the activities. For instance, the tendering process with the manufacturers and the installation of the water butts took much longer than expected.
  • Getting the message and the communication process right is as important to the successful delivery of the project as the technology and the way it is delivered and supported.

Dissemination and up-scaling of pilot results

The pilot project will be a proof of concept at the end of the project and will also provide evidence of costs. Modelling was done at the start of the project to show how much water you could take out of the system to have an impact, but the cost of monitoring this was extremely high and not budgeted for in the project.  In addition, the lack of rainfall in the target areas so far during the project period means that no meaningful results would be available.  Further trials are required in a range of drainage catchments to develop evidence.

There are few ways to take this further:

  • Promote the water butts concept for flood risk reduction on the ‘blue pages’ website to reach more people.
  • Discuss the water butt products with water companies and local authorities. At the moment there are a few authorities and water companies that are interested in the idea  .
  • Involve communities in projects in target areas by changing the traditional way of working with them.  This allows for focused approaches.

As a general observation, the way forward in the UK is to work with communities as equal partners and support them to be part of the process. This is an active discussion at the national policy level as part of the Flood And Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy.

Transnational exchange

The lessons learnt in the pilot provide guidance on how to implement  the project somewhere else. The proof of concept can be replicable because now all the steps/activities  are clear.