Modelling Urban Drainage Risk


1-day course

CPD Credit: 6.5 hours, C1 / C2

Course Aim

This course aims to provide candidates with an overview of the risk-based assessment of urban drainage (sewerage) networks, looking at understanding the prioritisation of investment in modelling programmes and then how to assess and prioritise risk at catchment level.

Course Overview

Risk based assessment within urban drainage networks is now embedded as business as usual within most Water Companies including Irish Water. The ability to assess risk in a common way, enabling investment planning is fundamental to delivering a catchment strategy.

This course will provide an overview of how these risk-based processes embedded within Drainage Area Plans (DAP) have developed over time, and understanding how to develop, measure and assess risk within a catchment. This will include global flood risk, pollution risk and how operational, asset and structural failure can be measured in the same way.

Course Objectives

After the course, the participants should understand:

  • How catchments can be prioritised based on risk, allowing targeted investment;
  • How catchment risk should influence hydraulic model development;
  • The principles of catchment flood risk assessment and visualisation;
  • The principles of catchment pollution risk assessment and visualisation;
  • How these principles can be attributed to all asset failures;
  • How to present a Risk Based Strategy
  • The significance and Criticality of Confidence.

Course Programme

History of Drainage Catchment Assessment

The Development of the Risk Based Approach;

Confidence – In tools, data and process and how this influences risk;

How model development can be targeted based on risk;

Urban Drainage Flood Risk Assessment;

o1D and 2D

Urban Drainage Pollution Assessment;

Understanding Structural and Operational Risk;

Assessing Critical Asset Failure;

Building the Risk Portfolio within a catchment;

Presenting the Catchment Risk Profile and how investment should be targeted.

Who Should Attend?

Consulting Engineers, Local Authority and Water Company staff who are going to be exposed for the first time to Risk Based Drainage Planning or are relatively new to the process, or staff seeking an overview of the process to manage or lead delivery.

The course will not require modelling software or specific technical input.

Trainer’s Profile

James Hale BSc Hons MSc CEng C.WEM MCIWEM MInstLM

James is a Technical Director with RPS Group, sits on the CIWEM Urban Drainage Group Committee where he is responsible for Professional Development and has been working in urban drainage modelling for nearly 20 years.

A Chartered Engineer and Chartered Water and Environment Manager, James has worked with Water Companies in the UK and Ireland to develop modelling standards and approaches including model build and verification standards, as well as delivering large scale drainage area plan modelling programmes over his career. James is also an approved Lead Auditor for several water companies, providing high level and detailed audit provision for DAP, Scheme and ICM models within the UK.

James has supported, developed, and implemented Risk Based approaches to urban drainage management for several Water Companies in the UK as well as Irish Water.

James has a special interest in Urban Flooding and has undertaken research which led to the Integrated approaches that are prevalent today. He has also pioneered work for multiple water companies relating to integrated modelling and the application of risk-based assessment methodologies to the drainage area planning process.

James also developed and leads the RPS Post Graduate Certificate in Managing Urban Drainage in collaboration with the University of Derby.

Key expertise:

  • Hydraulic modelling, model build and verification and auditing;
  • Integrated modelling and 2D assessment;
  • Intervention strategy development and optioneering;
  • Drainage Area Planning and Sewerage Management Planning;
  • Risk Based Strategy Development and Implementation;
  • Project planning and programme management;
  • Modelling training and development;
  • Modelling specification development;


  • “Very informative and good detail”
  • “Very good quality course, useful knowledge gained to produce flood risk assessment. Knowledge gained can be applied to all kinds of projects.”
  • “Very informative, good examples to clarify the subject of the course.”
  • “Excellent course. Very well delivered by James and topics were kept interesting and
  • relevant.”

Please contact the Team for further information on scheduled course dates and In-Company options. You can reach us by phone: 01 665 1305 or email