Philippines flood management project delivers successful online training

An international project which to aims mitigate flood risk in the Philippines has delivered a series of training workshops to scientists, engineers and land managers.

The project, titled ‘Catchment Susceptibility to Hydrometeorological Events: Sediment Flux and Geomorphic Change as Flood Risk in the Philippines’, is a collaboration between the University of the Philippines Diliman, the University of Glasgow and Brunel University London.

The workshops took place online between September 22 and October 6, using a combination of pre-recorded videos, practical exercises, and live question-and-answer sessions. The sessions brought together the project leads with 40 flood scientists, engineers, and managers from seven universities and three National Government Agencies.

The workshops centered on topics such as flood estimation, fluvial geomorphology characterisation, and geomorphic change, with sessions led by experts from the UK universities. All these are crucial subjects in developing complete understanding on various river dynamics and explore management efforts that fit specific river systems.

Participants completed training in flow estimation, national-scale characterisation of river channel change from satellite images, and geomorphic change detection. The exercises used state-of-the-art analysis tools running in freely available software, so that participants can readily apply what they have learned in their own projects.

Dr Richard Williams, Senior Lecturer in Fluvial Geomorphology and Geospatial Science at the University of Glasgow, taught one of the workshops on mapping river channel change. He said: “Workshop participants easily overcame the barriers to online learning and gained first-hand experience of using specialist software to measure how rivers are changing in the Philippines and the consequences for river management.”

Over the next year, during the final stages of the project, the research team will be demonstrating how a sustainable approach to sediment management can be applied in two river catchments in the Philippines.

Dr Williams added: “We hope that the project’s legacy will be a recognition of river diversity in the Philippines and the need for bespoke river management approaches for each river catchment, based upon it’s unique geology and catchment characteristics. Such an approach will hopefully contribute to the mitigation of impacts to people and property associated with river flooding.”

The research project is co-funded by the Department of Science & Technology's Philippine Council for Industry, Energy & Emerging Technology Research & Development (DOST- PCIEERD) and United Kingdom’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) collaboration through the PH-UK Newton Agham Joint Call.

The Ph-UK Catchment Project continues, with the development of work packages and a year-end flood and river management symposium to be held in 2021.

First published: 6 November 2020