Posted by: waterworks | December 20, 2007

11. Are You Resilient?

Resilience is an ability to cope with change while continuing to function normally.  It is a word that is increasingly coupled with risk and vulnerability as part of the analysis of flood hazard impacts.  In his recently-published interim report on 2007 UK flooding, Sir Michael Pitt takes the measure of British resilience and finds it left wanting.  To recap: “The floods during June and July 2007 were a wake-up call.  The three months from May to July were the wettest since records began and the events that followed have been linked to the deaths of 13 people.  They also resulted in damage to 48,000 homes and 7,000 businesses.  Power and water supplies were lost, railway lines, eight motorways and many other roads were closed and large parts of five counties and four cities were brought to a standstill.  The flooding triggered a series of emergencies which stretched local resources to the limit.”  All of which hardly seems symptomatic of a resilient nation.

Sir Michael has subsequently made a series of recommendations aimed at raising levels of resilience for individuals, properties and vital infrastructure.  Immediate examples of steps that members of the public might take to increase property resilience against the impact of future flooding events include keeping emergency supplies (comprising a torch, batteries, bottled water and those all-important wet wipes).  Lack of insurance – especially amongst poorer and highly-vulnerable groups – needs urgently addressing.  So too does a general malaise of complacency, with too many people left unaware that their homes are vulnerable to flooding, albeit often with a low level of risk.  Greater uptake of products such as door guards, air brick covers and toilet non-return valves is also highly recommended.  Anyone who has ever experienced what happens during a flood or blocked-drain-incident when non-return valves are not fitted will be in complete agreement with Sir Michael on this last point.  Are YOU resilient?



  1. […] Wales and Scotland now appears thoroughly beleaguered by persistent and serious flooding, testing resilience to ever-greater limits.  And first-time home-buyers thinking of taking out a 25-year mortgage for […]

  2. […] ABI believe that individual property owners can do much to increase the resistance and resilience of their properties to flood damage, perhaps acting in partnership with their mortgage provider, insurer, or local authority.  They offer many practical steps that homeowners can take to reduce the cost of flood repairs and speed up recovery times – such as putting one-way valves into drainage pipes to prevent sewage backing up into the house (because no-one wants that).  Finally, CIRIA have a great new report on the “flood performance” of new buildings that can be read by interested parties.  The phrase “flood performance” describes the flood resilience of buildings through the use of improved materials, methods and details.  It is not an oblique reference to Gene Kelly. Are you resilient yet? […]

  3. […] plant on an active flood plain.  As one might imagine, such contradictory practices make building resilience a tougher task for Britain in the long […]

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