Assessing and managing the risks of transitions in flood defence infrastructure


Workshop on  “Assessing and managing the risks of transitions in flood defence infrastructure”

The Environment Agency has teamed up with international experts to help risk management authorities to consider the risks associated with transitions in flood defence structures. The international consortium, made up of HR Wallingford, Royal HaskoningDHV, Deltares, IRSTEA and USACE, integrates current international knowledge and practice on transitions combined with working UK knowledge and practice on risk based tools for asset inspection and management. The project aims to:
• consider the presence of transitions during flood defence condition assessment
• quantify the effects of transitions on flood defence performance and flood risk
• manage the risk of transitions with improved design and retrofit solutions.

Credit: Royal HaskoningDHV

Credit: Royal HaskoningDHV

On 9 October a stakeholder meeting was hold in London to provide the opportunity to influence the direction of the project and to benefit from stakeholder’s experience managing flood defences. The animated discussion focused on specific reliability methods for transitions and the approaches for inspecting them. The workshop also provided the opportunity to hear about the management strategies being employed in the US, France and the Netherland to mitigate the risks associated with transitions.

More information about the project here:

Photo OwenTarrantPhoto Owen TarrantPhoto Owen Tarrant

Thoughts on ICOLD Congress, Vienna


photo by Ilze Plomp – van der Sar

This was my first ICOLD meeting and was the first formal ICOLD Technical Committee on Levees (TC LE) after it had been setup at the meeting in Prague. Here are a few of my thoughts.

Not only was this the first formal meeting of the LE TC the Congress was also important because Q103 for the congress was on the subject of small dams and levees. Rémy Tourment from France was the general reporter for this question who is also the chairman of the ICOLD TC LE. An interesting range of Reports were presented in four sessions with worthwhile discussion at the end of each session.

ICOLD TC LE also held a workshop on Monday 2 July. Other than providing an opportunity for presentations from new member countries, a significant amount of time was spent in gathering ideas for the dams and levees intercomparison report, using a facilitated brainstorming process. By the end we had a wall of Post It notes with very useful material. One point for the future is to use stickier notes as several did not stay on the wall. This material will be used by a small team from the Committee to further develop the report.

Adrian Rushworth (with thanks to Jonathan Simm for material)


Artifical rain showers on levees to prevent flooding

Sprinkler Irrigation (picture by Colette Fatou, Irstea)

While some countries like Japan and some Balkan countries have suffered from severe floods during the spring and early summer of 2018, The Netherlands and England are suffering from severe drought.

In both England and The Netherlands, June 2018 ranks along the 6 warmest and driest June months of the last century and has been record setting in places, with locally just a few millimeters of rain in six weeks’ time. In the Netherlands, the precipitation deficit (precipitation minus evaporation) since the 1st of April is now reaching 200 mm, twice the long-term average for mid-July.


The drought has led to a remarkable situation, which has not gone unnoticed amongst the news media: Some of the levee managing organizations in the Netherlands have now started to irrigate their levees. A remarkable situation indeed, because not only too much water turns out to pose a danger for levees, but also a shortage of water. This applies especially to levees consisting of peat. These are quite common for the peaty and low-lying Northwestern half of The Netherlands, and are especially used as embankments for the raised canals that are used to drain the polders in this area. After desiccation, the peat in such levees becomes a very light material which might practically float away (or experience uplift) if too much pressure is exerted on such a levee. This was by and large the reason for a peat levee breach after a similar drought in the hot summer of 2003, near the Dutch village of Wilnis.


After the above levee breach, the Dutch Foundation STOWA ( has initiated a fair amount of research on peat levees and other small levees, and has come up with guidance for their management during drought. As a result, there is now a protocol, which recommends that from a certain drought level on, levee managers start spraying or irrigating their peat levees, together with intensified inspections. In this way, the risk of cracks and setting of peat (and clay) levees is significantly reduced, as is the risk of sudden failure like in the 2003 case of Wilnis.


Further information can be found on:

Research in the Netherlands for Flood Defenses

May, 24th, 2018

Robert Slomp,

Marcel Bottema,


In the newsletter we have given an abstract of the relevant research for Flood Defenses. The present overview covers the research in somewhat more detail. First some general principles are highlighted:

  • Flood-defense research is polydisciplinary, including several scientific disciplines relating to various loads and strength aspects of flood defenses, as well as probabilistics and statistics and governance.
  • Most of the applied research on flood-defense related topics consists of contract research, which is commissioned by the government, and carried out at research institutes like for example Deltares. Besides this, some research is carried out by consultancies.
  • Fundamental research is mainly carried out at universities, especially those of Delft, Wageningen, Utrecht and Twente. There are three main funding sources: the universities themselves, the National Research Council (NWO), and funding by third parties. NWO-funded research is increasingly linked to the National Research Agenda of NWO, and to the research theme ‘Water’ of NWO. Third parties can include the EU.
  • Research is more and more linked to research agenda’s. Besides the National Research Agenda of NWO, there is also a National Knowledge agenda on Water and Climate (NKWK), which combines various agendas of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, of Rijkswaterstaat, of Water Boards and their Foundation for Applied Water Research (STOWA), the national Levee Reinforcement Program HWBP, as well as various consultancies and research institutes and universities.
  • The flood risk management policy in the Netherland is covered by the following document

  • Information on the current flood defense assessment and design tools can be found here.

The itemized list below highlights some key research activities of The Netherlands on Flood Defenses, even though it is not necessarily complete. The scope is limited to levee-related issues, which implies that research on hydraulic structures is not mentioned.

  • Research at universities, with some participation/contribution of Rijkswaterstaat
    • SafeLevee project (lead partner university of Delft

International Levee Performance Database (  to facilitate sharing of data on breach formation and breach initiation, to facilitate three work packages with the following objectives

  • to analyze data of levee performance and failure at a macro-scale, to identify system failure patterns and its most important causal factors (e.g. type and shape of a levee, etc.). This requires an innovative combination of techniques and data sources from hydraulic and geotechnical engineering and remote sensing.
  • to a) improve our understanding of the physical processes involved in levee failures; b) improve and/or develop computational models that can be used in safety assessment and design of levees. The focus will thereby be on geotechnical failure mechanisms.
  • to develop more accurate models and theories of breach initiation and formation using available datasets for calibration and validation
  • link

  • Flood Risk – All Risk project, lead partner is the university of Delft, other partners are the universities of Utrecht, Wageningen, Twente, Nijmegen, Houston, Tokyo and Berlin
  1. Aim if to facilitate implementation of new risk standards in the flood protection program
  2. The ambition is also to reduce flood risk by a factor 10 in some parts of the Netherlands. Improving the reliability of flood defenses is the main objective. Understanding failure modes is an essential element of this study.
  3. This study has just started.

See also:

  • Coastal Genesis/Coastal Systems,” Kust Genese”, lead partner Rijkswaterstaat
  1. The Netherlands carries out a lot of beach nourishments to reduce flood risk and for recreation. Understanding the effects of these nourishments is essential.
  2. The project has a number of work packages
  • Long term trends in coastal developments. Exchange of sand between barrier islands.
  • A pilot nourishment on a barrier island (Ameland) to monitor the exchange of sand with the wadden sea area behind the islands.
  • Ecology, effect of the nourishment on the ecology

It wants to be flexible and adaptive program. A lot of data is being generated from the monitoring, making this available for researchers essential.publications are on the website:

Kust Genese is part of the Interreg project Building with Nature

  • River Care, lead partner university of Twente
  1. The main goal is to understand processes in the river. Some of these processes e.g. long term morphology are linked to flood risk management and changes in the hydraulic boundary conditions (on the water levels)
  2. To improve the fundamental understanding of the behaviour of rivers, and to map the consequences of the measures for hydraulics, morphology and ecology and to improve the current models. The data, knowledge and models will be used to improve the design and maintenance of measures and cut costs of river management.
  3. publications are on the website
  4. See also:
  • Applied contract research on the national level

2.1 Hydraulic Boundary Conditions

Research commissioned by Rijkswaterstaat(the national water authority) with the meteorological office KNMI and Deltares being the main research institutes involved

2.1.1 Research on the wind climate on the North Sea and in the Netherlands,

  1. A better set-up of hydraulic boundary conditions (water levels and waves) for design and assessment on the coast, lakes and estuaries, reducing statistical extrapolation errors, and including more information on physics and physical maxima in extreme event estimates.
  2. There are three main research subjects
    1. to determine the statistics for extreme wind speeds and wind events
    2. to determine whether or not a two-way coupling between wind models and hydraulic models (in particular wave models) is necessary
    3. Establish a dataset with 50 000 years of climate data above the North Sea area for calculation of storm surges, precipitation, extreme discharges and the correlations between the rivers, the rivers and the sea, for the current and for a future climate. We currently have 6500 years.
  3. This is a long term project, with deliverables every year
  4. All documentation will be published in English on the KNMI website, see

2.1.2 Research on sea level scenario’s which influence the North Sea Area

  1. There is currently a methodological mismatch between the probabilistic approach for design and safety assessment of flood defenses, and the qualitative scenario approach for climate and sea level rise. The aim of the research is to move towards probabilistic climate projections that are more suitable for risk-based designs.
  2. Ice melt on Antarctica influences the sea levels more than the melt on Greenland. We have to know if our long term scenario’s for the year 2100 and onwards have to be changed.
  3. This is a long term project, with deliverables every year
  4. All documentation will be published on the KNMI website in English.

2.1.3 Research on discharge scenario’s for the Rhine, Meuse and its tributaries, The GRADE project. A resampling technique (GRADE) of rainfall data to construct large artificial time series, e.g. 50 000 years.

  1. A better set op hydraulic boundary conditions (water levels and waves) for assessment and  design on the rivers and estuaries.
  2. There are two main objectives
    1. an update of climate change scenario’s for the Rhine and Meuse river discharges
    2. information for the tributaries for the Rhine branches and the Meuse (e.g. the Vecht river)
  3. In the long run, the aforementioned 50000 years of climate data could be used to validate the GRADE resampling approach.

This is a long term project, with deliverables every year

All documentation will be published n English,  on the KNMI (see above), the Rijkswaterstaat and Deltares websites.

2.1.4 Research on wave action on rivers

  1. A better set-up of hydraulic boundary conditions (water levels and waves) for assessment and  design on the rivers and narrow estuaries.
  2. There are two main objectives
    1. Feasibility study, to check whether the spectral model is a suitable tool to replace the current approach based on the Bretschneider parametric formulas.
    2. measuring wind waves and currents on rivers, measuring the interaction between river flow and the wave action, in order to validate SWAN and Bretschneider and provide suitable model bias corrections.
  3. This is a long term project, with deliverables every year
    1. In 2018 the best method to measure wind waves will be determined.
  4. All documentation will be published in English, on the KNMI, the Rijkswaterstaat and Deltares websites.

2.1.5 Wind, Wave and Run-up measurements on large lakes, between barrier islands in the Waddenzee

  1. These activities are crucial for validation of hydraulic (wave) models, and to provide uncertainty bands and bias corrections. They supplement the permanent water level measurements of the RWS national monitoring network.
  2. There are three main objectives
    • measuring wind and wind-generated waves in the Wadden Sea (tidal inlets and tidal flats) and on large lakes like Lake IJssel. This project started in 1997 for lakes and in 2006 for coastal areas.
    • using this data to calibrate and validate our wind and wave models
    • combining this data with run-up data on two locations in the Wadden sea area

(the last project is formally more a project of TU delft, Rijkswaterstaat is involved in the measurement strategy.

  1. This is a long term permanent project, with deliverables 5 or up to 10 years, after the data has been processed and evaluated.
    • In 2018 the best method to measure wave action will be determined.
    • The run-up study will start in 2018
  2. All documentation will be published in English, on the Rijkswaterstaat and TU websites. Most of the data can be accessed through

2.2 Research of Geotechnics

Piping (internal erosion) and slope instability

  1. A more precise description of the failure mechanism of piping so design and assessment of flood defenses is less conservative. This should include (three-dimensional) heterogeneity effects and time-dependence.
  2. The Sellmeijer model currently describes the capacity of sand transport in the pipe. We should try to describe the rate in which the particles are loosened from the soil or we should return to empiric rules (e.g. Bligh and Lane).
  3. Slope instability research will also continue, with a focus on facilitating the recent implementation of the Critical State Soil Model CSSM (also known as undrained approach).
  4. Further slope-instability related research topics are related to pore pressure and infiltration modelling, the strength of the unsaturated zone, and the effect of wave overtopping on slope instability

These are long term projects, with deliverables every year. All documentation will be published on the Rijkswaterstaat and Deltares website in English.

2.3 Revetment failure

  1. A more precise description of the failure mechanism of revetment failure (stone, asphalt and grass) including the subsoil, and a better description of time-dependent effects. This should lead to a less conservative method for design and assessment of flood defenses…
  2. This is a long term project, with deliverables every year. It will start in 2019.
  3. All documentation will be published on the Rijkswaterstaat and Deltares website in English

2.4 Failure path research

  1. Little is known about the levee failure process beyond initial failure of for example a revetment (i.e. beyond the first asphalt crack, or first uplifted stone or grass sod). This is still far from the ultimate limit state and actual levee failure to be considered in the safety assessment.
  2. The failure path approach is inspired on the USACE safety assessment approach and can be used to estimate (using expert judgement) the contribution of this residual strength between initial and total levee failure. It can also be used to identify and prioritize knowledge gaps, also on the interaction of different failure mechanisms
  3. Research is now being carried out to explore the potential of this approach.

3.0 Applied research initiated by STOWA, for regional flood defenses

Research for regional flood defenses have little or no risk for life loss. There are about 15000 km of regional flood defenses in the Netherlands, mainly managed by regional Water Boards. STOWA is the research institute for the regional managers of flood defenses in the Netherlands.

  1. Managing flood defenses poses a lot of practical problems
  2. Research subjects cover inspection and management of levees, including how to deal with trees, animal burrowing, setting of safety standards, providing safety assessment methods, dealing with drought and peat levees, etc.

Projects with the Delta program: e.g. multifunctional use of levees, professionalizing inspection of flood defenses,

  1. for publications see the website (note most are in Dutch).
  2. Research subjects in Dutch

4.0 Applied research initiated by the national program for the reinforcement of flood defenses “HWBP”.

Some projects of interest are listed below.

4.1       Influence of sandy and vegetated foreshores on Hydraulic Boundary conditions,

  1. Wave damping by tidal marsh vegetation has been investigated within the NOW BE SAFE project, and will continue to be investigated within the ALL-RISK project described above. See for example DOI 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2016.06.001
  2. The present 2-year project is about the application of these results to design of Wadden Sea levees, and will finish soon.
  3. Despite all efforts and all new insights, there is still a lack of empirical data in extreme conditions, so that uncertainties when accounting for tidal marsh wave damping are large.
  4. Pilot experiments have also been done on sandy foreshore solutions (in order to reduce the amount of levee reinforcement), for example near the Houtribdijk separating Lake Marken and Lake IJssel. See

4.2       a review of the method for calculating Hydraulic Boundary conditions

  1. a review of the current way hydraulic boundary conditions are calculated in the Wadden Sea area and suggestions for improvements for design, assessment and forecasting.
  2. A reduction of hydraulic boundary conditions to be used in current dike design.
  3. This is a two-year project which started in 2017, with deliverables in 2018 and 2019
  4. All documentation will be published on the Rijkswaterstaat and Deltares website in Dutch,

4.3 Piping / internal erosion

  1. research on the piping process and experiments with drainage systems (large sand filters) to reduce piping
  2.  finding affordable measures to tackle piping
  3. This is a long term project which started a few years ago and deliverables in 2018 and 2019
  4.  All documentation will be published on the Rijkswaterstaat and Deltares website in Dutch,

4.4 Slope stability

Real life experiments with and without reinforcement using sheet piling

– see the article by Meindert Van, in the mid-2018 Newsletter

4.5 stone revetments

  1. A more precise description of the failure mechanism for certain type of stone revetments used in the Wadden sea so design and assessment of flood defenses is possible.
  2. The objective is to determine a new rule and to implemented it in the current safety assessment software.
  3. This is a long term project, with deliverables at the end of the project in 2019
  4. All documentation will be published on the HWBP website in Dutch

4.6 Asphalt revetments

Many asphalt revetments were constructed in the seventies and are approaching the end of their technical lifetime.

  1. A more precise description of the ageing of asphalt revetment used in the Wadden Sea
  2. The objective is to determine when to intervene.
  3. This is a long term project, with deliverables at the end of the project in 2019
  4. All documentation will be published on the HWBP website in Dutch

Research funded by HWBP, the national reinforcement program

4.7 Managing cables, pipelines crossing levees or near levees A failure of pipeline in or near a levee can cause failure of the levee.Safety assessment rules for cables and especially pipelines near and within levees need a risk-based update.

  1. Managing cables and pipelines near an crossing levees is covered by formal rules. With the implementation of risk based standards for flood defenses some levees now have lower standards. The NEN standards have become more important for those levees.
  2.  This project just started in 2018
  3.  rules covering cables and pipelines are published by NEN: The HWBP website will publish the results, probably only in Dutch.


Closure of Dutch storm surge barriers

On the 3rd of January 2018, all Dutch storm surge barriers had to close.

For details, see the news item on the site of I-storm, the International Network for Storm Surge Barriers.

Closed Maeslant Barrier

The closed Maeslant storm surge barrier (archive photo)

New book on floods and flood risk management

A new book (in two volumes) on flood risk and flood risk management is available at ISTE editions











Volume 1  risk knowledge:

Volume 2 risk management:

A new issue of our Newsletter

A new issue of our newsletter is available here :

I want to thank all the editorial team and the contributors. I hope you will find reading it interesting.

Don’t hesitate to disseminate it to all your contacts (inside and outside of ICOLD) who are interested in levees and flood defences.

Please send us contributions for our next issue and also for the web site (see the last page of the newsletter for what we are looking for).

Photos from ICOLD Prague meeting


Many pictures from the Prague ICOLD meeting are on ICOLD’s facebook page (click here).

NB : the link is not active on the home page. When on the home page, click on “View full post” or “Read more” button first

3rd International Conference on Protection against Overtopping 6-8 June 2018, UK

Only a few days left to submit an abstract to this interesting conference (deadline 13 September 2017).

See web site for details. Extract from the homepage:

The increasing demand for dam, levee and seawall safety and flood protection has motivated new research and advancements and a greater need for cost-effective measures in overtopping protection as a solution for overtopping concerns at levees, dams and seawalls. This conference will bring together leading experts from practice, research, development, and implementation for two days of knowledge exchange followed by a technical tour of the Lake District including some of the impressive dams which can be found there. This conference will focus on:

  • Critical issues related to levees, dams and seawalls
  • New developments and advanced tools
  • Overtopping protection systems
  • Overtopping simulators / test facilities
  • Overtopping failure mechanisms
  • System design and performance
  • Applications and innovative solutions
  • Case histories of overtopping events
  • Physical modelling techniques and recent studies
  • Numerical modelling methods.

A new Technical Committe in ICOLD : “Levees”

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to inform you of the creation of a Technical Committee “Levees” within ICOLD.

The General Assembly of ICOLD voted and approved this creation during its meeting last Friday (07/07) in Prague, at the 2017 annual meeting.

This excellent news for the international Levees and Flood Defences community is the result of many years of work and actions that have demonstrated to the Large Dams community the interest of working on Levees as well:
– the International Levee Handbook (2009-2013),
– inclusion of the topic by many National Committees, including CFBR (France), NETHCOLD (NL), USSD (USA), BDS (UK) and many more,
– creation in 2015 of our Working Group under the European Club of ICOLD on “Levees and Flood Defences”,
– recognition by the European Club and ICOLD Boards of our WG activity,
– of course, the vast amount of research and guidance from many recent national and international projects (including National Committees products),
– the active support of the National Committees from France, Netherlands and USA and the receptivity of the ICOLD Central Office and Board,
– finally, the vote of the member countries representatives in the General Assembly.

The creation of this Technical Committee (which I hope will have a fruitful production), coupled with Question 103 (Small dams and levees) of the next ICOLD Congress in Vienna in 2018, makes it possible to consider that these particular structures definitively join dams, large and small, among the topics of this major international organization in the field of Hydraulic Works: ICOLD; even if we are not yet ready (joke) to change its-laws or to rename ICOLD as the International Commission on Levees and Dams.

Next year will be essential in terms of activity. We will have to work hard in the EurCOLD LFD WG to present final deliverables to the European Club. The new TC will have to produce draft Terms of Reference and prepare its first Meeting and Workshop in 2018 ICOLD Congress in Vienna, where its ToR will be finalized. The transition between the two groups will need to be as smooth as possible.

Finally, I was chosen as Chairman of this new Technical Committee, which must eventually succeed and replace our European Club WG. I thank all the colleagues, within and without our WG, and from many countries and National Committees, too many to name them, who made all this possible. This is just a beginning!

During the General Assembly: introduction of the proposition by ICOLD President, Mr Anton Schleiss
Picture by Eija Isomäki

During the General Assembly: defending the cause of Levees
Picture by Cees Henk Oostinga

Prague WG Meeting and Workshop

A meeting and a workshop of our Working Group on Levees and Flood Defences will take place during the ICOLD meeting in Prague on July 7, 2017 (see details in the agenda).
WG members are all invited to attend the meeting. ICOLD National Committees have been informed of the event and are invited to send a representative to join us during the meeting. The workshop, as such, is open to all ICOLD meeting participants.

WG meeting in Prague (07/07/2017)

Our Working Group will hold its meeting on Friday, July 7, during the ICOLD Meeting and in the same venue thanks to the help of the local organizing committee. Apologies to members not being able to attend the meting at this date.
The formal meeting will be held during the morning (9:00-12:30), the afternoon (13:30-17:00) will be a workshop type meeting.
Attendance by non-members is possible if place permits, registration in advance.
Our members are welcome to fill (or update)) the following doodle poll in order for us to know who will be present.

USSD Conference

Dear all,

here is a message from our colleagues in USSD. Unfortunately the page layout is lost when copying in the post.

There are several levee related activities planned during the whole conference week.

Best regards, Rémy



The 2017 USSD Annual Conference and Exhibition starts in just 41 days!

From April 3-7, 2017 the world of dam and levee engineering gathers in Anaheim, California for five days. Our 71-booth exhibition is SOLD OUT. The California Department of Water Resources, at the center of Oroville and related water resources challenges being faced by California, is our host and their officials will be with us making presentations.

You will find a fantastic program, unique sponsorship opportunities, and additional projects we are engaged in with awards, scholarships, and recognitions that make a USSD annual conference truly unique.

All we need now is – YOU.

See you in Southern California April 3rd.

FLOODRISK2016-Lyon – More than just a conference

Marcel Bottema, 8 Nov 2016


Short report from FLOODrisk 2016 Conference

From 18-20 October the 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management took place in Lyon, together with some side events (FLOODrisk 2016, ). Over 200 papers were presented covering a wide range of Flood Risk Management issues. The number of participants was over 500, covering research institutes as well as consultants, government and NGO’s, and covering not only many European Countries, but people outside Europe, notably the US. Some highlights of relevance to both the dam and levee world are given below. But first and foremost, it should be mentioned that FLOODrisk is as much a Community of Practice gathering as a conference.


FLOODrisk as an overarching Community of Practice

Although the FLOODrisk conference only takes place every four years, FLOODrisk can still be considered to be an event that facilitates communities of practice within Flood Risk Management (FRM). This is partly due to the history of the FLOODrisk conferences, linked to the EU-FLOODsite and FloodProBE projects and the International Levee Handbook. But it is equally linked to the special character of the Conference, which is not just a set of lectures, but also includes some side events and planned as well as spontaneous workshops. In fact FLOODrisk serves not only to support individual Communities of Practice, but acts rather like an overarching FRM-community gathering, connecting various topic-specific Communities as well as different types of actors.


Workshops and side events

The FLOODrisk conference included a range of special sessions in workshop format. These sessions covered topics like the EU Floods Directive Implementation, Governance of FRM Programs, Natural and Nature-based FRM-solutions, Levee breach and failure mechanisms, Risk model validation and Communities of practice. More details can be found and at

The side events included:

Besides this, informal meetings besides the official program took place, for example a meeting of the levee breaching community.


Plenary and parallel conference sessions – on a wide range of topics

The term ‘parallel conference sessions’ may not seem inspiring. Yet it contains as many as 6 overarching topics and 24 sub-topics, each covering a set of interesting papers.

The overarching topics were Flood Hazard, Consequences, Flood Risk characterization, Risk reduction, Flood Event Management and Decision making. All these topics are not only relevant to the FRM-community in general, but also to the levees and dams communities. We intend to explore the added value to the latter communities in a symposium paper for the 2017 ICOLD Annual Meeting in Prague. A brief preliminary summary can be found at


Planning for future (FLOOD)risk – Next time better?

The final plenary session included a future outlook, where increasing risk and vulnerability are likely, as well as uncertainties and financing issues. Yet the ambition for a future overarching FRM Community of Practice may help in coping with these issues together; moreover the European Commission begins to recognize the importance of Communities and Science-Policy-Interfaces, especially on Secure-Safe-Resilient Societies.

All in all the conference was highly successful. There is only one aspect about FLOODrisk that might be disappointing: those who feel inspired to soon attend the next FLOODrisk conference, will have to wait another four years. The good message is that FLOODrisk 2020 is planned to take place in Budapest: a lovely city in a country with an interesting history on floods and Flood Risk Management.

WG meeting in Lyon: a success

The second Working Group meeting, in Irstea’s Lyon office on the 17 October 2016, has been quite a success.

We had 29 attendants from 10 countries. In the morning we had 9 technical and scientific presentations. The formal WG meeting was held in the afternoon. Minutes will be disseminated in the next two weeks.

Thanks to all participants and presenters for your involvement !


Working Group meeting : Lyon, 17 October 2016


A working group meeting will be held in Lyon, on Monday, October 17th, 2016, beginning the week of the FLOODrisk2016 international conference.

A draft agenda is available and has been sent to the working group members, asking them to confirm their attendance.

Non members wanting to participate need to get in touch with the Working Group bureau (Chair or Secretary). The morning will be dedicated to technical or scientific presentations related to levees and flood defence issues, projects, … The afternoon will be a formal Working Group meeting. There is now (21/09/2016) only a small number of available places.

Members and non members are welcome to submit a presentation topic. Non members can be welcome as guests during the formal meeting in the afternoon.


Vienna 2018 ICOLD Congress

The next ICOLD Congress (2018) will be held in Vienna (Austria). 

As you already know, a question regarding levees has been introduced in the program, and it is of utmost importance to demonstrate at this occasion to the whole dam community that levees is a natural topic linked to its activities.


We strongly encourage our members to present abstracts in relation to levees and flood defences,  possibly linking to dams. The submission process has to be done through the national committees, so the deadline will probably change according to your country. The date can be quite early, please check with your own national committee. Your deadline may be before the end of this year.

Please let the group know if you submit such levees of flood defences related abstracts, by sending an email to Marcel Bottema and Rémy Tourment, and/or by commenting this post on the website. Try also if possible to associate co-athors from other countries.

We are also considering to submit one or more abstracts on behalf of the Working Group, directly to ICOLD given the international status of our WG. We will keep you updated on this.

Thanks for your interest,

Rémy Tourment


Prague 2017 ICOLD Meeting

The next ICOLD Annual Meeting (2017) will be held in Prague (Czech Republic). 

Abstracts can be submitted up to September 15th.


We strongly encourage our members to present an abstract in relation to levees and flood defences. Please let the group know if you submit such a paper, by sending an email to Marcel Bottema and Rémy Tourment, or by commenting this post on the website.

We also think about submitting one or two abstracts on behalf of the Working Group, if enough people are committed in collaborating to write the paper itself. Also let us know if you are interested in such an initiative.

Thanks for your interest,


FLOODrisk 2016 conference program

The FLOODrisk 2016 conference program is now online. See


Levee ICOLD question



An important news for our levees and flood defenses woking group!

Here is the message sent on Monday, May 23rd to the WG members :
Dear Member of the EURCOLD Working Group on Levees and Flood Defences,
during our start-up meeting last year, we mentioned the importance of having the topic of levees on the agenda of the next Congress of ICOLD, in 2018 in Vienna, all the more so because that would allow us to present the results of our Working Group at an ICOLD Congress.
We now have the pleasure to inform you, that during the ICOLD General Assembly of last week, in Johannesburg, ICOLD selected levees as a topic (an “ICOLD-Question”) for the next congress in Vienna, in 2018. Question 103 will be “Small dams and Levees”. We don’t have the details on the question for the moment but we will make it available as soon as we have the official information.
This is a great step towards the acknowledgement of the importance of levees and flood defences in general, and within the dam community in particular. It will also allow to better share dam- and levee-related knowledge, and to exploit mutual synergies.
We would like to thank all those who made it possible, after the initial disappointment caused by the question we wrote not being pre-selected by ICOLD for discussion in Johannesburg.
This is great news indeed, worth a celebration (probably in Lyon during our next meeting)!
Thanks to all of you who participated to this collective effort, drafting and convincing.
I particularly want to thank the officials in BDS, CFBR, NETHCOLD and USSD (in alphabetical order) who spent time defending the cause of this question. We also thank all the other persons who, directly or indirectly, contributed through their actions and discussions.
This is only the beginning. Now we have two years of work ahead, to make this an even bigger success and convince ICOLD to make levees a permanent topic. I am sure this success will be a great boost to the collective spirit that we need to succeed, as there is too much work ahead to achieve real success without support from our whole Working Group.
However, with sufficient effort from all of us, we are likely to succeed with high quality outcomes from our working group and many interesting papers for the congress, and a success that can be shared by all of us.
Our best regards
Rémy Tourment, Chairman, and Marcel Bottema, Secretary

2016 Working Group meeting

Our WG meeting in 2016 will be held on October 17th in Lyon (France). More details soon.

The next days, also in Lyon, will be the international FLOODrisk conference.

LFD Eurcold Logo

FLOODrisk international conference

The 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management will be held in Lyon (France) on 
Registration is now open.

FLOODrisk 2016 will explore research advances in flood risk analysis and innovations in flood risk management practice. The conference will consider all aspects of flood risk and will cover the causes of floods, their impacts on people, property and the environment, and portfolios of risk management measures.


European Club of ICOLD Symposium

In 25-30 October 2016, the 10th ICOLD European Club Symposium will be held in Antalya (Turkey).


ICOLD meeting 2016 Johannesburg, South Africa

84th ICOLD meeting will be held in Johannesburg, South Arica, 15-20 May 2016.

A report of our WG activities have been produced and will be presented during the meeting of the European Club.