Droughts and Floods

The potential consequences of extreme weather events to society and the economy are of great concern as scientists grapple with the unpredictable nature of climate patterns and change in our environment. Recent events have demonstrated the UK’s exposure to environmental extremes with significant loss to the economy.

Human activities contribute to these hydrological shifts, such as the upstream deforestation and the drainage of wetlands for agriculture and development. There is increasing recognition that efficient and effective management of ecosystems can sustain the provision of vital services such as water supply, recreation and leisure, and flood alleviation.

This task force, led by Jim Wharfe (independent; formerly Head of Research at the Environment Agency) aims to evaluate the drivers, challenges and innovation opportunities from current and planned UK research investment in droughts and floods to inform ways to improve integration in developing a whole systems approach to deliver multiple benefits (economic, societal and environment) and to identify the potential (barriers and enablers) for market exploitation. The report and accompanying blog from the first phase of this work are available here.

A plan for the second phase of this work is here: DFPhase2ActionPlan515 (pdf)