Integrated Geohazard Assessments

Over the last five years, RIL staff have pioneered the development of Integrated Geohazard Assessments through which a wide range of physical processes and their susceptibility to the effects of climate change can be assessed in relation to downstream infrastructure.

For development of a hydropower project, the IGA process adds value to standard Seismic Risk Analysis, Geotechnical Baseline Reports, Hydrological Risk Assessments, Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, and Glacial Hazard assessments. The IGA process looks at the entire upstream catchment to see what physical process have previously occurred at a scale that has implications for downstream infrastructure. In addition, it looks at the river system downstream of a hydropower scheme to see if there are features there that could have impacts upstream at the hydropower scheme location. This is a process referred to as ‘Event Mapping’.

Once features have been identified through Event Mapping, the processes involved in the triggering and subsequent behaviour of the event are identified through ‘Process Identification’. This looks at the susceptibility of the previous event to the effects of changing climate as well as seismic risk.


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The results from the IGA inform a hydropower project’s Risk Register and should also influence the project’s Disaster Risk Management Plan. There are other benefits to commissioning such an assessment, including a significant reduction in annual insurance premiums to a hydropower developer that can produce their IGA report and undertake subsequent annual reviews.

This IGA approach has been adopted by The World Bank in its 2017 ‘Climate Change Resilience and Disaster Risk Management’ guidelines and in its ‘Dam Safety in Nepal’ guidelines (also produced in 2017). The topic has been presented in several conference proceeding papers between 2015 to date.

RIL is the only company worldwide offering Integrated Geohazard Assessments and their annual reviews. This is a highly specialised service with defined processes and outcomes that are being recognised by not only insurers but also others involved in undertaking due diligence, for instance.


The source area of the rock/ice avalanche that generated the 28+m high avalanche push wave into Lake 513 at Hualcán, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. (Photo: C. Portocarrero, April 2010).


GLOF deposits from the recent outburst from Lago Chileno, Northern Patagonian Icefield (February 2017)


Large boulders deposited by a catastrophic flash flood that occurred on 6th July 2016 block the two sluice gates within the badly damaged headworks water diversion dam for the Upper Bhote Koshi HEP scheme, Nepal (June 2017)



"CEGS have known of Reynolds International Ltd, previously Reynolds Geo-Sciences Ltd, since the mid-1990s and have utilised their services over the years for specific surveying in the former underground coal and iron ore fields of West Cumbria. As a lead consultant, we have used Reynolds International to successfully locate and define both the underground workings and the mine entries that pose a hazard to the built environment, especially shafts in the iron ore workings. Additionally, we have also enrolled on the CPD training courses that are organised by Professor John Reynolds and these provide an invaluable update to our professional skills. We will continue to use Reynolds International as our preferred specialist Geophysical consultancy because of the consistent high professional standards that are applied to every project."

Dennis R. E. Dickins, CEGS, Cumbria

"The British Embassy, Bucharest, has been working with Professor John Reynolds, of Reynolds International Ltd, since 2008 in order to ensure that the Embassy’s earthquake and emergency planning is up to date; and that all staff, dependents and the British community, for which the Embassy has a responsibility, are briefed on the causes, the preparations and the relevant actions in the event of an earthquake. Professors Reynolds’s knowledge, advice and guidance has been invaluable in ensuring that the embassy’s plan is as up to date and in an as workable format as possible. His knowledge is second to none and his guidance is clear concise and in an understandable format."

B A Davidson – HM Consul, Head of Corporate Services, Bucharest, Romania

"The earthquake preparedness training course provided by Professor John M. Reynolds for BAT Romania’ employees during 3 days in February this year was a well designed and tailored course given the high seismic hazard area where Romania is located. The main aim of the course was to provide our employees with necessary information to help them to reduce their own vulnerability at work, in their out-of-work activities and in their family lives. I was very pleased with the results of the training and, most importantly, I have received very positive feedback from participants. I recommend this course for other commercial organizations in Romania or abroad."

Eugen Stan, Business Security Manager