Improved Flood Warning Service for Infrastructure Operators

Posted: Thursday 18th February 2010

A new flood warning service for infrastructure owners and operators was unveiled trecently by the Environment Agency.

The Flood Warnings for Infrastructure service will provide infrastructure operators, such as utility companies and transport, with individually tailored warnings allowing organisations to take actions earlier to protect crucial assets.

55 per cent of water treatment works and pumping stations and 14 per cent of electricity infrastructure in England are situated in flood risk areas, along with some 4,000 km of roads and 2,500 km of railway.

Flood Warning for Infrastructure (FWFI) is a new way of delivering flood warnings to infrastructure owners and operators, and is a major advance on the existing service provided to homes and businesses in England and Wales.

The service is suitable for any type of equipment, development or network, including sewage treatment works, telephone exchanges, offices or depots, motorways and railways. Any organisation which owns or operates fixed assets or networks is eligible to adopt the service.

Robert Runcie, Director of Flood and Costal Risk Management at the Environment Agency, said;

“We provide information so that infrastructure operators know what is at risk so they can build resilience into their systems. The new flood warning service for operators is a major step forward to allow protection of essential assets in the infrastructure system.

“Operators must continue to invest in business continuity measures for their systems so that essential services can continue even during a flood.

“The floods in Cumbria last year resulted in considerable damage to crucial infrastructure, leaving 10 000 homes without power and 2000 phone lines threatened. This is highlights the risk we face of increasing flood risk due to climate change.

“The Environment Agency’s new service will help operators to take action earlier ahead of floods and we urge all infrastructure owners and operators in flood risk areas to take up the service.”

Infrastructure owners and operators interested in taking up the service should contact Frazer Rhodes on 08708 506 506.

Following the 2007 floods, the Pitt Review recommended the Environment Agency should develop a flood warning system more tailored to the needs of infrastructure operators.

In partnership with Western Power Distribution, the Environment Agency has developed the web-based solution to meet the flood warning needs of infrastructure operators.

Ian Smith of Western Power Distribution, said: “Since the introduction of the additional warning service at Western Power Distribution in July 2009 we have been able to target our response to flood warnings more effectively, allowing us to promptly identify our assets at risk in order to take action where required and protect the electricity supply to our network and customers.”

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