A University of Nottingham Special Professor, Edward Evans, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to environmental science. As Lead Technical Advisor and science team leader for the Government Office for Science Foresight Future Flooding project, Edward helped supply the evidence base for the UK Government’s current strategy for flood risk management, set out in the policy discussion document Making Space for Water. Now the UK Foresight model is being applied to predict future flood risks in the Taihu Basin, the region surrounding Shanghai in China, by Professor Evans and colleagues at The University of Nottingham including Professor Colin Thorne, one of the Foresight Future Flooding project’s Principal Investigators. Professor Evans and Professor Cheng Xiaotao of the Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) in Beijing are Joint Project Directors of the ‘China-UK Scenario Analysis Technology for River Basin Flood Risk Management in the Taihu Basin’. This project is developing climate and socio-economic forecasts and suitable risk management solutions to quantify risks of flooding in Shanghai and its surrounding area.
The two Chinese characters in Shanghai’s name mean ‘up, on or above’ ‘the sea’ or ‘the upper reaches of the sea’. If the sea were to reach Shanghai during a storm surge, flood damage to this global financial and manufacturing centre would have catastrophic economic and social impacts. The region’s importance can be gauged by the fact that even though it is home to only three per cent of China’s population, it produces 13 per cent of GDP. Professor Colin Thorne from the School of Geography at The University of Nottingham congratulated Professor Evans on his MBE. “This award reflects Edward’s hard work leading Foresight Future Flooding projects in the UK and our important work in China’s Taihu Basin — the latter undertaken entirely in his role as a Special Professor at The University of Nottingham. “We’re delighted that his expertise has been recognised in this way, highlighting the international importance of research into the prediction and modelling of risks associated with flooding in strategically sensitive population centres.” This project is a cooperative venture between the governments of the UK and China with support from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), managed by The University of Nottingham. Professors Evans and Thorne are coordinating a network of a team of British experts formed to work on different aspects of the project. Climate change is being investigated by the Hadley Centre and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research; hydrology and rainfall by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) of the Natural Environment Research Council; the socio-economic impacts of flood damage by the Flood Hazard Research Centre at Middlesex University; the reliability of dikes by Hydrology Research Wallingford; hydraulic modelling by the Halcrow Group (where Professor Evans was formerly Head of their Water Resources department); and risk and change by the University of Newcastle. Chinese partners include the Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) and the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) in Beijing; the Taihu Basin Authority (TBA); the Climate Change Laboratory at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS); the Institute of Water Sciences at Beijing Normal University; and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Professor Edward Parry Evans read Physics at Oxford and held a NATO Fellowship at Delft where he studied computational hydraulics. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, an Honorary Professor at Glasgow University, and was appointed Special Professor at The University of Nottingham in June 2007. He was formerly head of Halcrow Group Ltd’s Water Resources department, and is the originator of the ISIS suite of river modelling programs widely used in the UK and all over the world. An advisor to the joint DEFRA-Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Defence research programme in flood risk management, he was Expert Advisor for the Thames Estuary 2100 studies and chairman of their Modelling Advisory Group. The Foresight Future Flooding China is a complex, international Foresight project with multiple cooperating research organisations and multiple funders including United Kingdom Government departments including the Office of Science and Innovation (OSI); the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO); Global Opportunities Fund (GOF); the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC); and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); as well as the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).