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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Hewett, Caspar J.M., Simpson, Carolyn, Wainwright, John & Hudson, Steve Communicating Risks to Infrastructure Due to Soil Erosion: A Bottom-Up Approach. Land Degradation & Development. 2018;29:1282-1294.

Author(s) from Durham


Soil erosion is a major problem worldwide, affecting natural, agricultural and urban environments through its impact on flood risk, water quality, loss of topsoil, eutrophication of water bodies, sedimentation of waterways and damage to infrastructure such as roads, buildings and utility supply networks. Thus there is a need to identify risks to infrastructure associated with erosion and interventions needed to reduce those risks. Further, inclusive ways of communicating about mitigation strategies with stakeholders such as farmers, land managers and policy-makers are essential if interventions are to be implemented. Applying the Decision-Support Matrix approach, which combines hydrologic and geomorphic principles with Participatory Action Research, a tool for Communicating and Visualising Erosion-associated Risks to Infrastructure (CAVERTI) was developed in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders including farmers, private landowners, asset owners and environmental organisations, focusing on a case-study area in northern England. The CAVERTI tool synthesises process understanding gained from modelling with knowledge and experience of stakeholders to address the sediment transport problem. Tool development was collaborative, ensuring that the problems and solutions presented are easily recognised by practitioners and decision-makers. The tool helps to assess, manage and improve understanding of risk from a multi-stakeholder perspective and presents mitigation options. We argue that visualisation and communication tools co-developed by researchers and stakeholders are the best means of influencing decision-makers to invest in mitigation. The CAVERTI tool is designed to encourage farmers, land and asset owners to act to reduce erosion, providing multiple benefits from protecting local infrastructure to reducing pollution of waterways.

Department of Geography