A photograph of the Knossos archaeological site, Heraklion area, Chania, Greece. Source: Vasiahotels.gr.

July 22, 2019, by Blue-Green team

Urban Flood Resilience team at the ICONHIC2019 (Chania, Greece)

Leon Kapetas (University of Cambridge) and Vladimir Krivtsov (Heriot-Watt University) present their highlights of the 2nd International Conference on Natural Hazards & Infrastructure (ICONHIC2019) and post-conference tour of Knossos and its ancient water management system.

The conference

The Urban Flood Resilience Consortium had the opportunity to present some of their ongoing research at the ICONHIC2019, held in Crete, Greece (June 2019).

The conference attracted a very diverse crowd from academia and industry covering a wide range of problems, from geotechnical failures to coastal and pluvial flooding. The conference kicked off with the inspiring Plenary Lecture delivered by the President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Robin Kemper, on “America’s infrastructure report card: causes, costs, and solutions”.

Leon Kapetas chaired the session on “Ecosystem-based Adaptation for Urban Flood Resilience” which received papers on related modelling applications, water quality studies, urban planning and multi-functionality of infrastructure among others. Four papers from the Urban Flood Resilience project were presented:

Scott Arthur (Heriot-Watt University) presented part of the research carried out under Work Package (WP) 1 on the Impact of blue/green and grey infrastructure interventions on natural capital in urban development”.

Vladimir Krivtsov presented two papers on “Retrofitting SUDS at Industrial Premises” (WP1) and Monitoring and Modelling SUDS Retention Ponds: Case Studies from Scotland (WP2).

Kim Vercruysse (Cranfield University) presented her research under the project’s WP3 with the paper “Developing a spatial analysis framework to guide interoperable urban flood management“.

The papers can be downloaded from the links above or from our website.

A photograph of the Knossos archaeological site, Heraklion area, Chania, Greece. Source: Vasiahotelcs.com

The Knossos archaeological site, Heraklion area, Chania, Greece. Visited by ICONHIC delegates interested in ancient water management Source: Vasiahotels.gr.

And the post-conference

The ICONHIC post-conference tour was organised to the Knossos archaeological site and a museum in Heraklion area. This excursion proved to be truly excellent and featured an introduction to the Minoan civilisation which thrived on Crete around 1700 years BC. It was absolutely fascinating to learn that the ancient Greeks had a very sophisticated water management system featuring cisterns, wells and aqueducts allocated to three separate circuits (potable water supply, sewer, and stormwater drainage).

The remains of ancient pipes were the absolute highlight. Pipes were made of clay and consisted of sections screwed into each other, and according to Wikipedia, some of those pipes were deliberately constructed of more porous material, and used for pre-treatment of potable water.  It appears that the issues of water security, flood resilience, and water quality benefits were already high on human agenda as far back as at least 3700 years ago! All in all, amazing stuff and highly relevant to the Blue-Green Cites and Urban Flood Resilience research projects.

For the very interested:

Douglas, I. (2013) Cities: An Environmental History, p. 16, I.B. Tauris: London and New York.

Rose, J.B. and Angelakis, A. N. (2014). Evolution of Sanitation and Wastewater Technologies through the Centuries. London: IWA Publishing.

Posted in Urban Flood Resilience researchWorkshop