Funding awarded for flood and risk assessment research

ABERYSTYWTH UNIVERSITY, in partnership with eight other UK universities, has been awarded a grant worth £1.5 million in order to help communities, individuals and policy-makers better understand water issues such as flood risk, drought risk, access to water, supply and waste system security.

Huge wave hitting Aberystwyth's seafront

Huge wave hitting Aberystwyth’s seafront

Flooding has severely affected Wales in recent weeks and years, with storm surges and flooding in many areas, notably Talybont in June 2012. One in six properties in Wales is at risk of flooding, and the annual economic risk to residential and business properties is estimated at £200m a year.

The project will start in March 2014 and run for three years. It is entitled ‘Hydrocitizenship: Connecting communities with and through responses to interdependent, multiple water issues’. It aims to promote the integration of knowledge and expertise across a range of relevant disciplines in order to affect ideas and policy-making at a local and national level.

Four case studies will research issues in Talybont and Borth, Bristol, Lee Valley (London) and Shipley (Bradford).

Sara Penrhyn Jones, a lecturer at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, will oversee the work from Aberystwyth University.

Sara explained; “The main aim of this work is to share and collaborate expertise in this field in order to better understand and communicate issues around water with communities so that people are more informed of the water issues affecting their area. We will do this by using arts-based methods to encourage vitally important public dialogue.”

“The recent spectacular weather in the UK and in my own hometown, Aberystwyth, has forcibly reminded us of the dangers of sea-level rise and flooding, and so this project feels particularly timely. Talking to locals, there is an appetite for knowledge and further discussion around these challenges.”

“The Welsh Government directly invests in the region of £40 million in flood and coastal erosion risk management annually and has cited the importance of communication with the public as a key priority”, she added.

Each case study will be coordinated by a local academic team which will involve working with artists, community activists and selected community partners ranging from small community groups to larger organisations charged with aspects of regeneration and community resilience.

Anyone with an interest in being involved should contact Sara Penrhyn Jones at [email protected]