Project showcase – SMARTeST

The extent and consequences of recent flood events in Europe and worldwide showed that the existing flood defence structures do not guarantee a sufficient protection level for people and properties. Considering the uncertainty of future conditions shaped by main drivers of urban development such as climate change, and rapid urbanization the situation is getting even more severe. Where defences exist, the residual risk will increase as the probability will increase that they fail or be overtopped by severe floods. In this unfavorably changing environment, a substantial rethinking of the existing strategies and paradigm shift from the traditional approaches is required in order to cope with future flooding in an adequate way.
New strategies that target at a more holistic approach of flood risk management and consider the uncertainties of future development should be developed. The most important aspect of those new strategies is their adaptability and flexibility. The strategy, where the solutions can be gradually implemented, giving the time to the system to develop capacity for the changes, becomes an imperative for managing floods in urban areas. It follows the resilience principle, which is defined as the ability of a system/community/society/defence to react to and recover from the damaging effect of realised hazards. Applying the source- receptor- pathway-consequence
model (S-P-R-C), the flood resilience measures (FReM) are defined as the measures that improve the resilience of the receptor and/or reduce the exposure to flooding, where the urban fabric and people with their activities on the flood plain are considered the receptor. A key issue for a successful implementation of such strategies is that they are credible for stakeholders for instance on their efficiency. This credibility has to be built and consolidated through a mix of measures aiming at defining the performances and the limits of any kind of technical and/or organisational measures.
The market has seen the emergence of the flood resilience technology in recent years which involves the adaptation or construction of the buildings themselves, but it also includes the use of flood resilient technology that can be used to protect the building, including barriers, protection walls and flood products. The technology is
typically temporary in nature or at most semi-permanent and it is mobilised typically when there is a flood warning or heavy rainfall is forecast. Such technology requires human intervention that may involve a householder or in more sophisticated flood technology the use of a specialised team from a local authority.
The SMARTeST project seeks to build on the drive for Flood Resilient technology. The development of smart products that work within in system of flood resilience and can be modeled and implemented within the national regulations and policy is the basis of the project. Four technical work packages will address the key issues and
guidance will be produced.

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