The role of the Environment Agency, according to its chairman Sir John Harman, is to protect and improve the environment in England and Wales, and 'to make sure that air, land and water are looked after by everyone in today's society, so that tomorrow's generations inherit a cleaner, healthier world'.
The organisation is split into eight regions, with staff working in 26 area offices across England and Wales. It was formed in 1996 and has 13,000 staff and an annual budget of almost £1bn.
Flood risk management specialists focus on reducing the probability of flooding from rivers and the sea, and reducing the damage floods can do through land use planning, flood warning and emergency response. In the past it was thought that the best way to reduce the risk of flood was just to build flood defences. Now the Environment Agency tries to work with nature, rather than against it, as well as trying to prevent inappropriate development in floodplains.
Flood risk management engineers also get involved in helping people in flood risk areas to prepare flood plans, develop flood warning and mapping systems and, when a flood happens, they work with the police and other emergency services to help evacuate people. They also develop flood management plans for rivers and the sea. About 5M people in 2M properties live in flood risk areas in England and Wales, and changes in the climate will increase that risk.
For more information on careers in flood risk management go to www. fl uidfacts. com