The UK faces increased risk from storm damage, including large scale flooding events, as extreme weather intensifies. To more accurately predict key weather events, as well as create user friendly outputs for key stakeholders, the Environment Agency has hired CGI to create a Future Flood Forecasting System. The contract runs for three years and is valued at £5 million.
The UK has in recent years been battered by stormy weather, which has led to sever flooding in parts of the country. Winter floods in 2013/2014 affected thousands, and killed 17. The winter of 2015-16 also saw considerable flooding across the UK from Storm Desmond, Storm Eva and Storm Frank, among other heavy storms. Damages from the events ran in the order of billions of pounds, while pushing the government to review its predictions – including the anticipation for 20-30% more extreme rainfall than before. Key climate science warns that the risk of flooding, and property damage and insurance claims as a result, are likely to increase as the global climate becomes less stable due to climate change effects.
As the unpredictability, and frequency, of extreme weather events increases, the Environment Agency (EA) has turned to CGI to deliver and operate a new Future Flood Forecasting System. The system, which leverages scalable cloud computing, is predicted to be better able to help the EA produce key flood prediction from which actionable forecasts for a range of stakeholders are produced.
The system, which is focused on being highly configurable and user friendly, will allow a variety of information streams to be integrated to provide up-to-date and accurate information about impending floods as well as the current situation on the ground. Through the integration of data streams, and their dissemination to key stakeholders, the human element of the severe impact of flood events may be better managed through effective mitigation actions.The contract runs for three years at a value of £5 million for CGI.
“We are absolutely committed to increasing the timeliness, accuracy and usefulness of our flood forecasts in order to improve our response to flooding, and the Future Flood Forecasting System will play a key role. It will bring together regional systems into a single national system to make it quicker and easier to monitor forecasts and provide our experts with more time to analyse the data and communicate with our teams on the ground,” says Craig Woolhouse, Deputy Director Flood Incident Management at the Environment Agency.
“This is a data-centric, mission-critical system and CGI is proud to have been selected to develop it. We are implementing the very best technologies, and developing using an agile methodology, to ensure that the system evolves regularly and absolutely reflects the needs of users,” adds Elwyn Jones, Vice President of UK Central Government and Justice at CGI. “We have married our own capabilities with extensive hydrology expertise from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the latest innovations from British SME, Mapcite. This solution will digitally transform the way floods are forecasted across the country.”