The full extent of groundwater flood risk to property

The full extent of groundwater flood risk to property


GeoSmart explains how groundwater flooding causes more damage to property, but is the least understood

GeoSmart Information has launched an important new guide that shows the threat from groundwater flooding and how England's property and vital infrastructure, and therefore its communities, face major economic losses.

Built on preliminary analysis from GeoSmart's sister company, ESI Consulting, the guide reveals, for the first time, the clearest picture yet on groundwater flood risk:

'¢ £530m annual economic loss incurred;

'¢ 424,000 properties that could be affected by groundwater flooding; and

'¢ 11 per cent of the land area of England.

The data comes from the GeoSmart GW5 5m groundwater flood risk dataset, which has been incorporated with data from other flooding sources. These findings build on the authoritative 2014 HR Wallingford study that placed groundwater as the key risk affecting critical infrastructure as climate change continues.

The guide provides clear advice on what groundwater is, how it causes flooding, and the physical impact on property and infrastructure.

'Groundwater flooding is the least understood and least analysed form of flooding in this country,' said Stuart Pearce, managing director at GeoSmart. 'It also keeps property flooded for longer and so can cause far greater potential economic losses. We have developed this easy reference guide to show how property professionals, regulators, and insurers can and should provide better protection for property and communities.'

The guide proposes four key ways this can be achieved:

1. Greater property transaction due diligence: Available data in search reports used by purchasers and their solicitors or surveyors ahead of completion;

2. Improved insurance cover for groundwater flooding: Many policies exclude groundwater risk, so better data provides an opportunity for insurers to accurately identify the risk and offer suitable cover;

3. Protect our vital infrastructure through a better management response: Asset and community response managers can be better prepared through groundwater flood risk forecasting and alerts for vital installations, like electricity substations and sewerage treatment centres, as well as local community facilities;

4. Design and build property to account for groundwater risk: Architects and their clients can account for groundwater flood risk in scheme designs using available site data.

Pearce concluded: 'Groundwater is responsible for about 30 per cent of all property and infrastructure risk and yet the government, insurers, and property professionals are still largely ignoring the risk.

'Our guide clearly details how widespread this risk is in England, but also that data and site due diligence reports are available now to understand and account for its ever-growing threat.'

GeoSmart provides a range of groundwater flood risk assessments through its FloodSmart report range, while the 5m National Groundwater Flood Risk Map is also available under licence.

GeoSmart is also working with regulators and private companies to provide early warning forecasting of groundwater flood risk.

'Understanding Groundwater Flood Risk' can be downloaded here

GeoSmart delivers insight on environmental risk and suitability for property development and infrastructure.

For more information, please visit, email or call 01743 276 150.