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WaTer INTERNATIONAL LEvEE HANDbOOk raising the bar Jonathan Simm, Technical Lead on the International Levee Handbook (ILH), HR wallingford discusses the forthcoming handbook. This international project was co-ordinated by CIRIA over four years, across five countries with 10 Chapter teams. Figure 2: Levee breach from an airborne inspection, courtesy of USACE Louisville District First International Levee Handbook In the aftermath of these events, the to be available in October 2013 governments of the six authoring countries The International Levee Handbook (ILH), realised that there was the need for the the first of its kind, will be published in production of a single reference source October 2013. It will offer international on good practice in the management and good practice on levees based on current design of levees, drawing on the skills found knowledge and experience from six across Europe and in the USA. countries in one single, comprehensive handbook. In particular, the ILH will Why are levees important? provide a guide to the evaluation, design, Levees, otherwise known as flood implementation, maintenance and embankments or dikes, are a vital part management of levees. The collaboration of modern flood risk management. Many involved in the compilation of the ILH will towns and cities would be uninhabitable have other long-term benefits over and without them. It is estimated that there are above compiling current good practice: several hundreds of thousands of kilometres Figure 3: Levee inspection, courtesy of Rémy Tourment there will be increased co-operation of levees in Europe and the USA alone. and the sharing of ideas for the future in levee design, monitoring and maintenance What are the problems between the six authoring countries France, with levees? Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Levees come in a variety of forms, and UK and the USA. All of the contributing in addition to being flood embankments countries hope that this will lead to or dikes can include flood walls, pumping safer and better constructed levees stations, gates closure structures, natural internationally. features, and other associated structures. And despite their apparent simplicity, levees What are the origins of the ILH? can be surprisingly complex structures. The role of levees in flood defence has received increased attention in recent Often levees have been built up and years, following a series of events that extended over decades or sometimes caused risk to human health including long- centuries. So, by their very nature, few term effects and economic damage. These of these were originally designed or include the hurricanes Katrina and Rita constructed to modern standards and in in the USA in 2005, the Xynthia storm in many cases, records of their construction France in 2008, the flooding in Southern and historical performance do not exist. Pakistan in 2010 that affected 18 million people, and the worst flooding in a century Even today, when existing levees are along the Mississippi in 2011. maintained and improved and new levees 24


evolutionsummer2013
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