Water, Climate & Flood Risk Management


Lori Irvine

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Water issues are becoming increasingly prominent as we struggle with disparity between water availability and demands, water pollution and competition for limited water resources. Climate change affects water more than any other resource, resulting in increased temperatures, greater evaporation rates, earlier snowmelt, reduced total precipitation and sea level rise.

We recognize these challenges, and our engineers, scientists and planners work with clients to find the right solutions that manage risk, protect people and assets, meet regulatory requirements and offer long term resilience against further variability and change.

Featured Areas

  • Water Systems Management – integrating the planning, implementation and operations of the built and natural water cycle
  • Climate Risk and Resilience – assessing and managing climate-related risks to industry, agriculture, power, water and transportation infrastructure, flooding and drainage and water supplies
  • Coasts and Inland Waterways – protecting navigable waterways and coastal areas from risk through strategies for long term prevention and maintenance
  • Flood Risk Management – preventing damage and protecting assets from harm using structural and no-structural (awareness, forecasting and warning) solutions
  • Regulatory – understanding regulatory requirements to secure permits for water-related facilities

Click on the below images to learn more about our projects.


Climate Risk and Resilience

Increasing climate uncertainty has serious implications for our water, infrastructure and ecosystems and challenges the ability of planners, resource managers, engineers and scientists to make risk-smart decisions. CH2M HILL works with clients to assess climate risk (as part of an overall risk profile), determine climate risk tolerance, and develop sound, incremental adaptations that balance climate risk with other priorities. Our services help clients identify and manage climate-related risks to industry, agriculture, power, water and transportation infrastructure, flooding and drainage, and water supplies.

Areas of Expertise

  • Climate risk assessments
  • Customized scenario planning process
  • Use of SimCLIM for best scientifically-based projections of impacts
  • Developing implementable adaptation strategies
  • Applications from basin-wide to community-specific level
  • Climate risk guidance for industry sectors

Coasts and Inland Waterways

Navigable waterways and coastal areas are of considerable economic, social and environmental value, yet they are at risk due to both natural and human-induced processes. CH2M HILL works with clients to assess, repair and provide practical answers for long term prevention and maintenance. Our efforts on the UK’s historic inland waterway network are often an integral part of larger urban regeneration programs, and we offer the latest skills in coastal, port, estuary and marine engineering and management services.

Areas of Expertise

  • Data collection/analysis, numerical/physical modeling and coastal processes studies
  • Planning, design, project management
  • Economic and environmental assessment
  • Construction supervision/management/monitoring
  • Lock refurbishment, canal restoration and conservation and waterway schemes
  • Flow and level control structures and bridges

Water Systems Management

Integrating the planning, implementation and operations of the built and natural water cycle is a tremendous challenge. CH2M HILL offers our clients a structured approach for optimizing their complete water cycle including surface water, groundwater, desalination, stormwater and flood management, conveyance, wastewater, reuse and environmental flows. Taking into account the water-energy nexus and greenhouse gas emissions as part of integrated resources planning reduces risk in the face of uncertainty and provides a robust platform for current and future needs.

Areas of Expertise

  • Resource economics and resource management diversification
  • Water quality and environmental credit trading
  • Climate change risk assessment and adaptation
  • System dynamics analysis
  • Water planning
  • Greenhouse gas emissions and the water-energy nexus

Flood Risk Management

Done correctly, flood risk management can sustain a high quality of life for at-risk communities by minimizing the economic, social and environmental effects of flooding. CH2M HILL closely collaborates with clients such as the UK Environment Agency, United States Army Corps of Engineers and state water departments to protect assets and prevent damage, recognizing that non-structural solutions—awareness, forecasting and warning—can often play a critical role. Our flood management strategies provide effective, applicable solutions, ranging from local drainage improvements and low impact development to full scale coastal protection and restoration. And we make your financial investment count by using robust decision tools that integrate flood control investments with other watershed improvements such as recreational facilities, ecosystems and water quality.

Areas of Expertise

  • Strategic planning and policy development
  • Modeling and mapping of drainage systems, waterways, and flood effects
  • Flood forecasting and real-time warning systems
  • Emergency planning and post-disaster assistance
  • Options development and appraisal; asset management
  • Innovative financing
  • Design, construction, and operation


Understanding regulatory requirements and maintaining excellent working relationships with regulatory agencies are critical to securing permits for water-related facilities. Through our work on thousands of projects, we have assisted clients in expediting approvals and facilitating stakeholder engagement to successfully achieve their goals on everything from watershed management and nutrient standards to water regulations and catchment and shoreline management plans. Worldwide, our staff monitors regulatory activity so that we can respond to current and emerging regulatory requirements.

Areas of Expertise

  • Regulations (such as the Clean Water Act, Water Framework Directive, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, Water Act 2003)
  • Floodplain and watershed management regulations
  • Nutrient standards and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)
  • Catchment and shoreline flood management plans