Groundwater Resilience And Community Engagement (GRACE)

We've been successful in securing funding as part of the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme and will now be one of 25 projects involved.

The Groundwater Resilience and Community Engagement (GRACE) project is funded by Defra as part of the £150 million Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme which is managed by the Environment Agency to develop and test new approaches to resilience tailored to local communities.

The Strategic Flood Risk Management Team is now working on the 6-year project with a range of partners from across the Chilterns and Berkshire Downs, including communities in 10 high risk flood areas of the Chiltern Hills and Berkshire Downs.

The project

Groundwater flooding has seen the lowest levels of investment, action and consideration by authorities compared with the focus on fluvial, coastal, and more recently surface water flooding.

The impacts of groundwater flooding can however be more devastating and severe than from other sources as it can last for weeks or even months.

Findings from the GRACE project are set to benefit 200 communities and 70,000 properties at risk of groundwater flooding across the region. Learning will also be shared nationally for the benefit of communities everywhere.

New approaches

New approaches and technologies now offer an opportunity to improve quality of life and reduce the social and financial impact of floods for thousands of homeowners in the Chilterns and Berkshire Downs.

Communities will discover more about local groundwater and its flooding risk. They will be better prepared to manage flooding with alerts, shared knowledge and innovative ideas to help minimise disruption and damage. They will also learn how to make local areas more resilient to floods in the future.

The project aims to make use of new ways of monitoring, modelling, mapping and warnings and will build upon many existing community initiatives across the area to transform how groundwater flooding is addressed.

We hope this will offer a template for other authorities to take forward.

Community engagement

Community engagement is at the heart of the programme and we will be working closely with local communities who are at risk of groundwater flooding.

We aim to identify new ways of working together to improve resilience such as the use of smart technology to predict and prevent flooding.

More information about the GRACE project will be made available as the project progresses.

Contributing partners