Blue Heart

Putting communities at the heart of resilience decisions, using dynamic flood risk management that is proactive and not reactive.

Our project will reduce the flood risk to people and properties in the catchment and build resilience to climate change via innovative, intelligent, holistic, and collaborative actions.

The project will adopt smart technology and the internet of things to establish an integrated water management system for the communities of Eastbourne and southern Wealden. This will monitor water levels in real time and incorporate forecasted rainfall to issue flood warnings and alerts, and calculate the optimum response - to either store or release water.

The solutions will utilise existing infrastructure more effectively and provide economic, environmental, and social opportunities for local people whilst achieving lower whole life carbon than a traditional capital flood risk management scheme.


Why is the project called Blue Heart?

The Eastbourne Park lakes were created in 1995 to help mitigate against flooding for the community. They became much-loved landmarks, affectionately known as the ‘Green Heart’ of the town. The name Blue Heart is a nod to this local history, helping communities to understand the risk of flooding and the integral role of the lakes in our new, more effective, Blue Heart water management system.

Find out more at our website.


Map of proposed and active monitoring sites in the Blue Heart study area within Eastbourne and Lower Wealden.


Why Eastbourne and southern Wealden?

The flood risk in Eastbourne is compounded by its complex geology, intense urbanisation, and an outdated sewer network that struggles with rainfall events, along with the tidal locking of outfall points along the system. As an LLFA it is our responsibility to investigate ways in which surface water flood risk can be mitigated. Previous attempts have been hindered by the integrated nature of flood risk mechanisms.

Inadequate data has led failed bids for levy and GiA for flood warning systems and asset maintenance in the past. The lack of salient information has resulted in poor decision making such as decommissioning of assets and ineffective responses to flood events. This has resulted in a legacy of a weak strategy for the management of flood risk in the study area, and a poor resilience for communities.

FCRIP has given us the perfect opportunity to develop an approach to these issues that can be replicated in other parts of the UK, providing an excellent case study to integrated flood risk management and coordination.


What key actions will Blue Heart take?

To manage flooding risk, we first need to understand how water flows (or doesn’t) through the catchment area. To do this, a dynamic approach is needed which taps into new technologies.

Our project will:

  • Install a network of water level monitoring devices in the fluvial and drainage network, new rain gauges above ground, and boreholes below.
  • Engage with residents and community groups to acquire further knowledge of the local environment and the impact of water level changes.
  • Work with project partners with responsibility for managing the environment and water level management to allow for better collaboration.
  • Research the history of land use and water management in the area.
  • Create new flood warnings and alerts which consider antecedent conditions and all sources of flooding.
  • Create a dynamic, integrated water level management system
  • Ensure communities are at the heart of decision making and have a stronger awareness of flood risk issues in the area.
  • Providing greater knowledge for better informed bids for funding of future flood alleviation schemes.


What is the technological goal of Blue Heart?

The main technological goal is the development of a real time integrated hydraulic model which can:

  • Run multiple scenarios as well as the live ‘do nothing’ case simultaneously. It will run in response to observed data to calculate that best scenario which has minimal impact on infrastructure and communities.
  • Automate warnings and alerts to provide information about current and upcoming events so that proper precautions can be taken by the relevant authorities.
  • Provide timely and detailed reports of asset failures using smart telemetry. Any changes captured in the observed field data will cascade automatically into the live modelling environment and asset management teams will be alerted of any issues.
  • Be hosted on a web-based platform for risk management authorities to allow for better partnership working and act as decision-making tool for policy makers.
  • Be made available to residents and communities through a public facing platform where they can view telemetry information, learn about the catchment, and receive flood warnings and alerts.



How will you involve local people?

The Blue Heart project is using the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach to sustainable community-driven development that builds on the assets found in a community (e.g., skills, knowledge, experience or even enthusiasm) and mobilises them to come together.

Community Advisors with specialist knowledge will advocate for their particular concerns and act as critical friends. They will bring greater balance and additional perspectives to discussions, contributing to better outcomes across Eastbourne and south Wealden.

Our Community Fund will support greater climate resilience and community action relating to managing flooding or drought, reducing the impact of climate change, increasing sustainability, or protecting and sharing the natural environment. Grants of up to £5000 will be available to support activity in the Blue Heart Study Area, allowing existing projects to increase their impact or diversify their activities, and providing seed funding for new groups and ideas.


What has been achieved so far?

The two initial goals of Blue Heart have been scoping sites for telemetry device installation and identifying effective ways to engage with communities.


How to get involved

We are actively seeking small business and suppliers of telemetry devices for installation at scale, we want to trial, test and pilot these technologies. We'd also like to hear from other projects or authorities who have also installed similar technology to hear from their experiences, problems, learning and successes. Please email us at blueheart@agile-rabbit.com (External link).


Who we are working with


Putting communities at the heart of resilience decisions, using dynamic flood risk management that is proactive and not reactive.

Our project will reduce the flood risk to people and properties in the catchment and build resilience to climate change via innovative, intelligent, holistic, and collaborative actions.

The project will adopt smart technology and the internet of things to establish an integrated water management system for the communities of Eastbourne and southern Wealden. This will monitor water levels in real time and incorporate forecasted rainfall to issue flood warnings and alerts, and calculate the optimum response - to either store or release water.

The solutions will utilise existing infrastructure more effectively and provide economic, environmental, and social opportunities for local people whilst achieving lower whole life carbon than a traditional capital flood risk management scheme.


Why is the project called Blue Heart?

The Eastbourne Park lakes were created in 1995 to help mitigate against flooding for the community. They became much-loved landmarks, affectionately known as the ‘Green Heart’ of the town. The name Blue Heart is a nod to this local history, helping communities to understand the risk of flooding and the integral role of the lakes in our new, more effective, Blue Heart water management system.

Find out more at our website.


Map of proposed and active monitoring sites in the Blue Heart study area within Eastbourne and Lower Wealden.


Why Eastbourne and southern Wealden?

The flood risk in Eastbourne is compounded by its complex geology, intense urbanisation, and an outdated sewer network that struggles with rainfall events, along with the tidal locking of outfall points along the system. As an LLFA it is our responsibility to investigate ways in which surface water flood risk can be mitigated. Previous attempts have been hindered by the integrated nature of flood risk mechanisms.

Inadequate data has led failed bids for levy and GiA for flood warning systems and asset maintenance in the past. The lack of salient information has resulted in poor decision making such as decommissioning of assets and ineffective responses to flood events. This has resulted in a legacy of a weak strategy for the management of flood risk in the study area, and a poor resilience for communities.

FCRIP has given us the perfect opportunity to develop an approach to these issues that can be replicated in other parts of the UK, providing an excellent case study to integrated flood risk management and coordination.


What key actions will Blue Heart take?

To manage flooding risk, we first need to understand how water flows (or doesn’t) through the catchment area. To do this, a dynamic approach is needed which taps into new technologies.

Our project will:

  • Install a network of water level monitoring devices in the fluvial and drainage network, new rain gauges above ground, and boreholes below.
  • Engage with residents and community groups to acquire further knowledge of the local environment and the impact of water level changes.
  • Work with project partners with responsibility for managing the environment and water level management to allow for better collaboration.
  • Research the history of land use and water management in the area.
  • Create new flood warnings and alerts which consider antecedent conditions and all sources of flooding.
  • Create a dynamic, integrated water level management system
  • Ensure communities are at the heart of decision making and have a stronger awareness of flood risk issues in the area.
  • Providing greater knowledge for better informed bids for funding of future flood alleviation schemes.


What is the technological goal of Blue Heart?

The main technological goal is the development of a real time integrated hydraulic model which can:

  • Run multiple scenarios as well as the live ‘do nothing’ case simultaneously. It will run in response to observed data to calculate that best scenario which has minimal impact on infrastructure and communities.
  • Automate warnings and alerts to provide information about current and upcoming events so that proper precautions can be taken by the relevant authorities.
  • Provide timely and detailed reports of asset failures using smart telemetry. Any changes captured in the observed field data will cascade automatically into the live modelling environment and asset management teams will be alerted of any issues.
  • Be hosted on a web-based platform for risk management authorities to allow for better partnership working and act as decision-making tool for policy makers.
  • Be made available to residents and communities through a public facing platform where they can view telemetry information, learn about the catchment, and receive flood warnings and alerts.



How will you involve local people?

The Blue Heart project is using the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach to sustainable community-driven development that builds on the assets found in a community (e.g., skills, knowledge, experience or even enthusiasm) and mobilises them to come together.

Community Advisors with specialist knowledge will advocate for their particular concerns and act as critical friends. They will bring greater balance and additional perspectives to discussions, contributing to better outcomes across Eastbourne and south Wealden.

Our Community Fund will support greater climate resilience and community action relating to managing flooding or drought, reducing the impact of climate change, increasing sustainability, or protecting and sharing the natural environment. Grants of up to £5000 will be available to support activity in the Blue Heart Study Area, allowing existing projects to increase their impact or diversify their activities, and providing seed funding for new groups and ideas.


What has been achieved so far?

The two initial goals of Blue Heart have been scoping sites for telemetry device installation and identifying effective ways to engage with communities.


How to get involved

We are actively seeking small business and suppliers of telemetry devices for installation at scale, we want to trial, test and pilot these technologies. We'd also like to hear from other projects or authorities who have also installed similar technology to hear from their experiences, problems, learning and successes. Please email us at blueheart@agile-rabbit.com (External link).


Who we are working with


Blue Heart

about 1 year

This interactive map illustrates the study area of the Blue Heart Project, as well as the current and proposed monitoring sites.

Page last updated: 11 Oct 2023, 11:01 AM