Alumasc Water Management Solutions (AWMS) recently invited key architects, specifiers, engineers, contractors and builders’ merchants to debate the UK’s water management problem on a journey to the Thames Barrier.

The event took place on the River Thames on-board an Elizabethan Paddle Steamer, which cruised past London’s many iconic buildings, through to the Thames Barrier and back to Westminster.

Over 100 industry leading professionals, key influencers, industry trade bodies and the media gathered to listen, network and discuss the need to take water management seriously. AWMS presented key facts on the impact of climate change, urbanisation, rising sea levels and changing weather patterns on our built environment. Discussion focused on the implications of recent changes to the Flood and Water Management Act, the effects of flash floods to business and the economy, and the solutions needed to help minimise the risks.

Steve Durdant-Hollamby, managing director of AWMS, said: “UK floods over the last ten years have had catastrophic effects on homes, businesses and infrastructure, costing billions of pounds to insurers and our economy, and it’s forecast to get worse. As a market leader, it’s important we drive the debate, and lobby for engineered solutions to manage water more effectively at every stage – from rain to drain. The issue is relevant to the whole construction industry and all levels of the supply chain. And it’s important we start to apply joined up thinking at the design stage.

“The river cruise on the Thames was an opportunity for AWMS to lead the debate as well as give guests an enjoyable experience. Judging by the feedback, it was a fantastic success. Cruising to the Thames Barrier was a significant part of the afternoon. It was built in 1982 to protect London from North Sea surges and flooding, and designed to close up to five times a year. Last year it closed over 50 times to prevent London flooding. But worryingly, excess rain overloading the system not North Sea rises was the main reason. Very soon we will need much more than this barrier to protect the capital from water.”

AWMS, part of Alumasc Group, is the new name in the industry for integrated water management solutions. It aims to communicate strongly the importance of engineered solutions and joined up thinking to manage water more effectively.

“We can’t stop the increased rainfall or climate change”, concluded Mr Durdant-Hollamby. “But we can look at how we design projects and incorporate integrated water management solutions from the roof through to the water course to reduce and minimise the impact of flash flooding.”

Picture caption: The AWMS river cruise took in London’s iconic sites, including the Thames Barrier.