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Diversification Of Flood Risks Management Strategies, An Exploration Of Governance Challenges

World Water Congress 2015 Edinburgh Scotland
17. Climate change, impacts and adaptation
Author(s): Carel Dieperink
Peter Driessen
Dries Hegger
Marloes Bakker

Utrecht University1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 17: Climate change, impacts and adaptation,


Climate change is expected to result in sea-level rise and to induce more extreme weather events. As modifications in frequency, severity and duration of hydro-meteorological hazards will occur (IPCC 2011), the changes on (combinations of) coastal, fluvial or pluvial flooding are rising. The potential consequences of these weather events are intensified due to non-climatic factors. Among the latter are socio-economic changes, like population growth, economic growth, urbanization and terrestrial changes, such as sealing the land surface, changes in water retention volume in catchments, river regulation, and in some cases, also soil subsidence (Mitchell 2003). Urban areas in particular face increasing flood risks. It is therefore argued, both in literature and in practice that in order to reduce flood risk we cannot focus solely on keeping water away from people or keeping people and wealth away from water. We have to be prepared for coincidence of abundant water and damage potential in the same place and time. There is a residual risk of such an occurrence. Actors at various levels (international, European, national as well as regional) make efforts aimed at diversification of Flood Risk Management Strategies (FRMSs), in which multiple strategies are applied simultaneously and linked together. Both the UN Hyogo Framework and the EU Floods Directive opt for a simultaneous and coordinated application of multiple strategies. Article 7.3 of the EU Floods Directive for instance specifies that 'Flood risk management plans shall address all aspects of flood risk management focusing on prevention, protection, preparedness, including flood forecasts and early warning systems and taking into account the characteristics of the particular river basin or sub-basin. Flood risk management plans may also include the promotion of sustainable land use practices, improvement of water retention as well as the controlled flooding of certain areas in the case of a flood event'. Literature suggests that a diversification of FRMSs may lead to more resilience to flood hazards (Pilon 2002; APFM 2003; Aerts et al. 2008; Tucci 2008; Green 2010; Van den Brink et al. 2011; Jha et al 2012). In other words, in addition to limiting consideration to a fail-safe system that never fails, we should strive to build a safe-fail system that fails in a safe way (Green et al 1993; Kundzewicz & Takeuchi, 1999) and recovers after failure. This is in our opinion the essence of the notion of resilience. We do however realize that the resilience concept is contested. Diversification of FRMSs is a challenge for governing actors as it may ask for changes in societal debates and institutions. Changes for instance costs money, asks for legal changes and/or coordination. A better insight in such governance challenges is relevant for societal actors that have the ambition to diversify FRMSs in order to make areas more resilient. The aim of this paper is therefore to explore the challenges that have to be addressed before a diversification of FRMS may take place. Our exploration is based on a review of existing literature which is based on a typology of flood risk management strategies (FRMSs) and governance challenges. We have used our expert knowledge as well as Scopus and Google scholar to identify relevant studies. A search has been conducted using combinations of the terms flood risks management, governance and each of the strategies we will address (flood risk prevention, flood defence, flood risk mitigation, flood preparation and flood recovery). We also used more specific terms related to the strategies like dikes, and flood-proof housing. We have first identified the challenges found in studies dealing with an optimization of separate FRMSs. Next we will present the challenges related to the integration or coordination of a diversification of FRMSs. The latter are identified following a review of the literature on integrated flood risk management, integrated water management, policy integration and interactive policy making. We conclude our paper with a synthesis of the challenges found and a short research agenda for comparative empirical research in order to further address them. 1. Aerts, JCJH., W. Botzen, A. van der Veen, J. Krywkow, S. Werners, 2008: "Dealing with uncertainty in flood management through diversification" Ecol Soc 13:1, 41-57. 2. APFM (Associated Programme on Flood Management) 2003 Integrated Flood Management: Concept Paper, 1st edition, Geneva: World Meteorological Organisation 3. Green C H 2010 "Towards Sustainable Flood Risk Management", International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 1(1), 33-43 4.Green C H, Parker D J and Penning-Rowsell E C 1993 "Designing for Failure" in Merriman P A and Browitt C W A (eds.) Natural Disasters: Protecting Vulnerable Communities, London: Thomas Telford 5. Innocenti D, P. Albrito, 2011: "Reducing the risks posed by natural hazards and climate change: the need for a participatory dialogue between the scientific community and policy makers" Environ Sci Pol 14, 730-733. 6. IPCC (2011) Summary for Policymakers of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 7. Jha A K, Bloch R and Lamond J 2012 Cities and Flooding: A Guide to Integrated Urban Flood Risk Management for the 21st Century, Washington DC: World Bank 8. Kundzewicz, W & K. Takeuchi, 1999, Flood protection and management. Quo vadimus? Hydrological Sciences Journal, 44:3, 417-432, DOI:10.1080/02626669909492237 9. Mitchell, J.K. 2003: "European river floods in a changing world" Risk Anal 23: 3, 567-574. 10. Pilon P J (ed.) 2002 Guidelines for Reducing Flood Losses, Geneva: United Nations 11. Tucci C 2008 Urban Flood Risk Management: A Tool for Integrated Flood Management, Geneva: World Meteorological Organisation 12. Van den Brink M, C. Termeer, S. Meijerink, 2011: "Are Dutch water safety institutions prepared for climate change?" J Water Clim Change 2:4, 272-287.

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