Catchment and river applied research (CaRAR) River at sunset 
The Devon Resilience Innovation Project (DRIP) is a community flood resilience project led by Devon County Council and funded by the Environment Agency and the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme.
The project is innovative in that two local universities – the University of Plymouth and the University of Exeter – are providing co-ordinated support for research-led monitoring for the project partners. 
The University of Plymouth and the University of Exeter would like to showcase how universities can provide local support to help build flood resilience.
Flood-vulnerable communities are on the front line of climate change impacts, and interest in the effectiveness of natural flood management interventions is at a high. Through this project and the wider programme, we have the opportunities to make a real impact on people's lives, making this an exciting time to be working with communities.
Between 2021 and 2027, the flood and coastal resilience innovation fund, managed by the Environment Agency, will allocate £150 million to the flood and coastal resilience innovation programme, where 25 local areas will demonstrate how practical innovative actions can work to improve resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.
DRIP will work with these projects to get the right solution in the right place.

Main focus of project partners

Across the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme, there are 25 projects with a broad range of partners and deliverables. 
The main focuses of the project partners are:
  1. Natural flood management (NFM) measures
  2. Community flood risk engagement
  3. Community flood warning systems (FWS)
  4. Property flood resilience (PFR) measures and planning processes.
DRIP Project Overland Flow

What we know and what we need to know

Community flood warning systems

Projects should be co-designed, co-created and co-managed with the local communities. Following flood events, flood risk aware communities recover more quickly.
  • What are the most successful ways of engaging flood risk communities?
  • Can our understanding of catchment science and process help and what is the best approach to communicate this understanding?
  • How can community resilience be optimised across multiple interventions (PFR, FWS and NFM)?

Natural flood management

NFM is effective in reducing flood risk (<10 year return period events) in small to medium sized catchments (10–100 km2).
  • What is the effectiveness of NFM measures alone, in clusters or in combination for a range of return periods and a range of different catchment scales?
  • How effectively can we isolate the problem using low-cost, high-density monitoring devices?
  • How can we best evaluate the co-benefits of NFM?

Community flood warning systems

Warning systems need to be reliable. Community engagement, understanding and trust is crucial. 
  • What information would the community need to make them more resilient to flooding?
  • How effective are flood warning systems (smart gullies and rain radar) at increasing community flood resilience?
Should the main focuses of the project be addressed, the overall aim of DRIP is to create an ideal West Country river catchment. This means:
  • Nature-based solutions in place to reduce overland and peak river flows
  • Seeing rivers able to fill their flood plains where possible
  • Creating a system where engineered defences play a part but aren't the sole solution
  • Making properties more resilient through long-term planning or property flood resilience measures
  • The ability to give communities effective and timely warnings and ensuring they are prepared
Community Flood Alert Wardens

Joint Universities Doctoral Monitoring Partnership

The DRIP PhDs are building on established partnerships and funded monitoring programmes in co-producing a project monitoring strategy with project partners.
Monitoring activities across DRIP will provide new learning and the data required to evaluate County flood resilience solutions.


1. Assessment of the effectiveness of community engagement in improving flood resilience across multiple interventions – University of Plymouth – PhD Researcher Kezz Millard, Director of studies Dr Simon Dickinson and Co-supervisors Dr Alan Smith and Dr Alison Stokes.
2. Natural capital assessment of the co-benefits of NFM interventions beyond flood resilience – University of Plymouth – PhD Researcher Georgina Freer-Carmichael, Director of studies Paul Lunt, Co-supervisors Dr Catherine Gutman Roberts and Dr Scott Davidson.  
3. Understanding of NFM impacts at larger catchment scales – University of Exeter – PhD Researcher Mehdi Diego, supervised by Professor Richard Brazier and Dr Alan Puttock, both in Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences.
Postgraduate students studying together in the library.