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The University of Southampton

Research project: THESEUS: Innovative technologies for safe European coasts in a changing climate - Dormant

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Beginning in December 2009, this European funded project is investigating the use of innovative coastal flood technologies to mitigate flood risk based on research in a number of case study sites.

Historically, coastal protection and water management in coastal lowlands has been concerned to 'keep  water out', 'defend property from water' and 'live on dry land'. Globally, and especially in parts of Europe, there has been a change in attitude towards coastal protection in response to the growing risk and uncertainty generated by climate change. The future of flood protection is in part a return to the past, with the focus being shifted to 'making space for water', or techniques that allow some areas to be sacrificially flooded. Moreover, what society expects from defences is changing and these needs will continue to evolve.

The Theseus project is therefore looking at the three main components of the flood system - socio-economic, ecological and hydrological - to identify where and how appropriate flood mitigation measures can be implemented.  These measures can be initiated at different points in the flood system and range from

  • offshore structures which modify the wave and surge approaching the coast,
  • enhancement of defence structure for biodiversity and energy generation, 
  • (re)establishment of coastal habitats, engineered structures (with ecological enhancement) and beach nourishment which determine the ingress of flood waters, to
  • emergency planning, insurance and spatial planning which limit potential damages.

The project has also developed a Decision Support System which allows these mitigation measures to be assessed in individual sites, allowing the most efficient to be identified.

Project website: Theseus

Energy generation at Bilbao, Spain
Dual use of structures
Dune management at Mablethorpe, UK
Habitat regeneration

Related research groups

Energy and Climate Change
Coastal Engineering and Management
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