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GeoSmart reveals extent of groundwater flood risk to property

The environmental reports and data specialist explains how groundwater flooding causes more damage to property, but is the least understood.

 Impact of groundwater flooding

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GeoSmart Information has launched an important new guide that shows the threat from groundwater flooding and how England’s property and vital infrastructure, and therefore its communities, face major economic losses.

Built on preliminary analysis from GeoSmart’s sister company, ESI Consulting, the guide reveals, for the first time, the clearest picture yet on groundwater flood risk:

  • £530 Million annual economic loss incurred
  • 424,000 properties that could be affected by groundwater flooding
  • 11% of the land area of England

The data comes from the GeoSmart GW5 5m groundwater flood risk dataset that has been incorporated with data from other flooding sources. These findings build on the authoritative 2014 HR Wallingford Study that placed groundwater as the key hazard affecting critical infrastructure as climate change continues.

The guide provides clear advice on what groundwater is, how it causes flooding and the physical impact on property and infrastructure.

“Groundwater flooding is the least understood and least analysed form of flooding in this country,” said Stuart Pearce, Managing Director at GeoSmart. “It also keeps property flooded for longer and so can cause far greater potential economic losses. We have developed this easy reference guide to show how property professionals, regulators and insurers can and should provide better protection for property and communities.”

The guide proposes 4 key ways this can be achieved:

  1. Greater property transaction due diligence

Available data in search reports used by purchasers and their solicitors or surveyors ahead of completion.

  1. Improved insurance cover for groundwater flooding

Many policies exclude groundwater risk – so better data provides an opportunity for insurers to accurately identify the risk and offer suitable cover.

  1. Protect our vital infrastructure through a better management response

Asset and community response managers can be better prepared through groundwater flood risk forecasting and alerts for vital installations, like electricity sub stations and sewerage treatment centres, as well as local community facilities.

  1. Design and build property to account for groundwater risk

 Architects and their clients can account for groundwater flood risk in scheme designs through using available site data.

Stuart Pearce concluded:

“Groundwater is responsible for about 30% of all property and infrastructure hazards and yet the government, insurers and property professionals are still largely ignoring the risk.

“Our guide clearly details how widespread this risk is in England, but also that data and site due diligence reports are available now to understand and account for its ever growing threat.”

GeoSmart provides a range of groundwater flood risk assessments through its FloodSmart report range, while the 5m National Groundwater Flood Risk Map is also available under licence.

GeoSmart are also working with regulators and private companies to provide early warning forecasting of groundwater flood risk.

Understanding groundwater flood riskUnderstanding groundwater flood risk can be downloaded here.