Living With Water

Business, Community, Local Gov't, Public Sector • East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston upon Hull

Building flood resilience and developing innovative water management systems in Hull, one of the UK's highest flood-risk areas.

  • Flooding in Hull in 2007
  • Hull's relationship with water
  • from river to estuary.

Living With Water's story

From tidal flooding, to river and rain, the geography of Hull, positioned at the bottom of a natural bowl means that measures need to be taken to mitigate this risk. Living with Water is addressing these risks in a naturally sustainable way, that will provide resilience for businesses and communities and for years to come.

Formed in 2017, Living with Water has been established within a challenging regulatory environment, bringing together private sector (Yorkshire Water), public sector (Hull & East Riding Councils) and regulators (the Environment Agency) into a unique collaborative partnership. The fundamental aim of the partnership is to address that flood risk in Hull and East Riding by challenging the traditional carbon intensive methods and championing innovative natural solutions and engaging communities in the design of their green spaces.

Since the 2007 floods, each partner has invested millions in their own capital programmes in flood alleviation infrastructure projects necessary for river and tidal defences, however climate change forecasts between 20-50% more rain during the winter periods which will cause tremendous capacity challenges on an aging Victorian sewer network. Our 'Blue Green' vision is to add to this critical infrastructure by co-designing sustainable urban drainage schemes (SUD's) across the city with communities, to mitigate the surface water flood risk, but to enhance regeneration and place, improve mental health, and educate the younger generations on natural ways to 'live with water'.

Water underpins all we do across the planet and in 2017 Hull was recognised by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of the world's 5 resilient cities along with Miami, Cape town, Mexico City and Arman.

We aim to use natural methods to positively impact the region in an environmentally sustainable way. For example, the SUD's we create with communities may take the form of wet woodlands, ponds and swales, improving water quality and biodiversity in the region and slowing the flow into a combined sewer network. Disconnection of homes and businesses from surface water run off allowing them to form temporary ponds on the surface will provide beautiful co-designed green spaces for employees and communities to take a break from work and recharge as they reconnect with nature.

Ongoing maintenance of these green spaces will also provide long term, new green jobs for our future workforce.

We are committed to building a bluer, greener city, our team are passionate about achieving this goal to implement large scale natural surface water schemes as we want to live in a city that thrives with water rather than fearing it.

Useful learnings from Living With Water

Living with Water has so far achieved great success in innovatively engaging public in mass participation events such as the Hulltimate-Challenge, delivering the UK's first city-centre urban obstacle course, themed around water with discreet messaging and flood alleviation themes, obstacles and awareness embedded throughout, reaching over 1million people through social media and many thousands of local residents directly involved in the activities. We aim to build on this success as we move into 'co-creation' with communities to design their areas with us, building resilience in from the start.

Education is central to achieving our aim of building flood resilience in Hull and Haltemprice and education in schools is a key project of the LWW partnership. Together the partnership has developed the Living with Water education programme for primary (KS2) school children consisting of an assembly and workshop which combine practical activities with key messages around planning and preparing for flooding. Moving into 2022 we open the new Living with Water Community Education Hub with Wilberforce College and look to explore inclusion for students content for geography and engineering 'T' levels to encourage talent in our project for future development.

The Living with Water (LWW) household survey in Hull was conducted in September and October 2018 by the University of Hull. It forms part of a baseline for the LWW partners to monitor the impacts of our work to reduce the impact of flooding and increase resilience.

The survey asked about the impacts of the 2007 and 2013 floods, awareness of flood alleviation measures, implementation of household resilience measures, and concerns about flooding.

The survey was focused on three target Council wards: Beverley & Newland, Derringham, and North Carr. Having a baseline of flood awareness will assist us measuring the outputs for the future.

Our whole ethos is to work as a collaborative partner between all four organisations, with Governance as a key enabler to the successful continuation of the partnership in a productive but highly regulated environment.

We have established a programme governance model which again facilitates the safe, coordinated but dynamic approach required of this programme, from board level ownership of the vision and partnership resources through to peripatetic multi-disciplinary technical professional's meetings, with performance measures and data exchange integrated throughout the model.

Data sharing has been one of the most difficult elements to achieve and continues to do so, however through our stringent governance process, we aim to work on this to ensure that data shared is for the outputs achieved in the future.

Living With Water's metrics

Number of properties with reduced risk of flooding.
Community engagement.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Positive Impacts

Health & Wellbeing

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation




Business, Community, Local Gov't, Public Sector, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub

Updated Nov, 2023

Recommended for you

  • Tree Musketeers

    Tree Musketeers

    Growing, planting and caring for trees in Hackney.

  • Plant One

    Plant One

    Helping to restore the Celtic rainforest by planting more woodland habitats in Cornwall.

  • Ealing Wildlife Group: Beaver Project

    Ealing Wildlife Group: Beaver Project

    Bringing beavers back to London, to learn how to live alongside them in urban areas.

  • High Hirst Woodmeadow Project

    High Hirst Woodmeadow Project

    Boosting biodiversity, reducing flood risks and capturing carbon with the creation of a woodmeadow.