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Analysis of the effect of Natural Flood Management measures in water levels

   Civil Engineering

  Dr Pedro Martin-Moreta  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Experimental and numerical analysis of the effect of Natural Flood Management measures in water levels and validation for 2D/3D applicability.

Natural Flood Management (NFM) has become a popular method of reducing flood risk. It involves the implementation of measures that reflect natural processes and provides a range of benefits in addition to flood reduction. There is however little evidence that the measures actually reduce flood risk. NFM is introduced in channels to slow down high flows and encourage temporary storage on the floodplain.

While these solutions have been implemented widely, there is still resistance to their use at the scales required to impact significantly on flood risk, at least partially due to an evidence gap. There is no standard method for representing some of them, i.e. leaky barriers, in hydraulic models.

This study proposes to analyse a methodology for using commercial hydraulic models which capture the hydraulics of natural flood management measures accurately, allowing key questions about their combined behaviour in catchments to be answered. Commercial models (2D or 3D) will be tested against data from the literature and new steady-state data, and then run predictively on transient cases. The method will help to answer key questions about the optimal leakiness of small-scale interventions and the limits to their usefulness.

 Research journey

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Research support

Excellent research support and training

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You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: View Website. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.


Acreman, M.C. Riddington, R. and Booker, D.J. 2003. Hydrological impacts of floodplain restoration: A case study of the River Cherwell, UK. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 71(1): 75–85.
Dixon, S.J. Sear, D.A. Odoni, N.A. Sykes, T. Lane, S.N. 2016. The effects of river restoration on catchment scale flood risk and flood hydrology. Earth Surf Proc Land 41(7):997–1008 Environment Agency.
2018. Working with Natural Processes. Defra Report: SC150005. JBA Consulting. 2005. Natural Flood Storage and Extreme Flood Events
Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Moreta et al, 2020. Numerical analysis of river flood defences. River Flow 2020 International Conference.
Martin-Moreta, P.J., Lopez-Querol, S. (2017) Numerical Modeling in Flood Risk Assessment: UK Case Study. Civil Eng. Res. Journal 2017; 3(1)
Pitt, M., 2008. The Pitt Review, Learning lessons from the 2007 floods: An independent review. London: Cabinet Office.
Thomas, H. and Nisbet, T.R., 2007. An assessment of the impact of floodplain woodland on flood flows. Water and Environment Journal, 21(2), pp.114-126.

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