Dikes, Levees and Flood Embankments: Geotechnical Challenges in the anthropocene epoch

BGA Evening Meeting

Dikes, Levees and Flood Embankments:

Geotechnical Challenges in the anthropocene epoch

Wednesday 1st November 2017 at 18:00


Telford Theatre, Institution of Civil Engineers,

One Great George Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3AA


Dr Philip Smith

Royal HaskoningDHV


Human activity is having an increasing impact on the world and nowhere is this felt more acutely than in areas subject to flooding.  Recent flood events have displaced millions of people and caused hundreds of billions of pounds’ worth of damage.

Dikes, levees and flood embankments will often act as the last line of defence against flooding caused by extreme weather events.  Poor performance of these assets can have devastating impacts on protected areas and communities.

Dr Smith will use examples from projects around to world to illustrate how human activity is affecting these structures and their ability to perform their prime objective of separating people and property from the flood.


Dr Philip Smith graduated from Imperial College with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1981 and subsequently returned to complete an MSc and later a PhD in soil mechanics. His research focussed on the behaviour of soft soils such as those found beneath many of the World’s natural floodplains.

Dr Smith worked for Fugro in the UK and Mott Connell in Hong Kong before joining the company that is now Royal HaskoningDHV in 1995. He is now a technical director and is one of the company’s “Lead Professionals”.

For most of his career, Philip has worked as a geotechnical engineer on projects located at the water’s edge, including ports, harbours, reclamations and flood defences.  He maintains an interest in the relevant technical issues; he is currently a member of ISSMGE Technical Committee 201 (Dikes and Levees) and was the lead author of Chapter 9 of the International Levee Handbook (Design).

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