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Hamilton Engineer to chair Internatinal Flood Committee

Press Release from HYDRA Software Ltd, Hamilton, New Zealand.

International Flood Committee Chair goes to Hamilton Engineer

The Director of HYDRA Software, Dr Alastair Barnett FEngNZ, has been nominated as incoming chair of the world body overseeing flood planning standards. This body is the Flood Risk Management committee of the IAHR, based jointly in Madrid and Beijing, and its work is ever more critical as Climate Change effects on storm intensities and sea level rise increase.

This nomination is international recognition of new light shed by New Zealand technology advances on civil engineering practice in hydraulics. These innovations were developed to reinforce trust in high profile decisions such as the coastal siting of Te Papa in the context of tsunami risks with rising sea levels, the viability of port expansions at both Tauranga and Marsden Point, and the range of tidal currents expected in the Hauraki Gulf during the successful Americas Cup defence in 2000.

Inland, successes include the controlled passage of the 1998 Waikato River “Flood of the Century” and the trouble-free operation of the complex multi-billion dollar Upper Waitaki power scheme, although the original 1977 design of the Tekapo-Pukaki system to replace coal burning thermal power stations yet to eventuate.

Priorities for Dr Barnett and the committee will be expansion of his 2016 project to emphasise evidence-based validation of computer results. Re-engagement with world insurance will follow to convince them that bad experience with academic tsunami predictions, or with flood maps using computer generated imagery, should not reduce their confidence in valid engineering software.


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