Loughborough University: Loughborough water engineering experts awarded more than £287k for projects that support COP26 adaptation and resilience priorities

In summer 2021, UKRI-NERC invited applications for international, collaborative, and interdisciplinary project-scoping grants in a bid to “bring together researchers from a range of disciplines with other key actors such as NGO’s, businesses and policy makers to support solutions-focused research into key climate adaptation and resilience challenges faced in different locations around the globe”.

Twelve projects in total have received funding, two of which are headed by Loughborough University water engineering experts Dr Tim Marjoribanks and Dr Huili Chen.

Details on their projects were shared at the UKRI stand in the Green Zone exhibition at COP26 on ‘Adaptation, Loss and Damage Day’ (8 November) and can now be found below.

COP26 logo for the LU PR campaign

ENACT

Dr Tim Marjoribanks, a Lecturer in Water Engineering, has been awarded £126,000 funding for ENACT.

Short for ‘Evaluating the feasibility and efficacy of integrated catchment-scale Nature-based solutions for Climate Change adaptaTion in India’, ENACT is a six-month project involving several Loughborough University academics and three Indian institutes.

Climate change is increasing flood risk in India. The resulting increase in physical flood hazard is compounded by increased exposure due to rapid urbanisation, making adaptation a key strategy for reducing adverse impacts.

Urban blue-green infrastructure – which the European Commission defines as a ‘strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem service’ – and wetland restoration are two nature-based solutions to increased flood risk due to climate change.

ENACT will investigate the effectiveness and feasibility of combining the two and will use the Brahmaputra River and the city of Guwahati as case studies.

The project aims to provide insight into how the impact and success of large-scale nature-based solutions – in terms of physical and socio-economic factors – can be maximised.

Of the importance of the research, Dr Marjoribanks said: “Adaptation is a crucial goal of COP26, and we are excited to be working with our Indian partners on this case study to help us understand how we can most effectively use nature-based solutions to protect communities and restore natural habitats.

FLASH

Dr Huili Chen, also a Lecturer in Water Engineering in ABCE, has been awarded £161,637 funding for FLASH.

Short for ‘Fit-for-purpose high-resoLution risk Assessment and forecasting System for rainfall-induced Hazards in Bhutan’, FLASH will focus on the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, which is home to 240 million people, many amongst the world’s poorest.

HKH is an example of a multi-hazard environment exposed to interacting events, creating hazard chains that amplify risks to infrastructure and people, and the region is particularly sensitive to climate change.

Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is typical of HKH in undergoing rapid development and urbanisation.

Recent conversations with Bhutan’s Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and its National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) indicate that a national database and risk assessment strategy for disaster risk reduction using modern data and modelling technologies is not yet established.

FLASH will update current practice and provide more reliable tools to support effective hazard risk management, inform socio-economic development, and increase resilience and adaptation to climate change to ultimately ensure long-term sustainability.

The project, which involves UK and Bhutan academics, will run for six months and will involve three workshops with key stakeholders.

Dr Chen commented: “FLASH aims to bring the latest high-performance modelling and data tools to step-change current practice in hazard risk assessment/management in Bhutan.

“The learning achieved in Bhutan will be of great interest to the wider HKH region and lessons learned will be shared internationally.”

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