The municipality of Gothenburg is located in the County of Västra Götaland, on the Swedish west coast, where the Göta River (Göta älv) flows into the sea. It has a total area of approximately 460 km2. It is, population-wise, the second largest municipality in Sweden, with about 540.000 inhabitants. The population density in the central areas can be as high as 6.000 inhabitants per km2. Almost half of the future development of Gothenburg is planned for these areas.
Gothenburg is vulnerable to pluvial, fluvial and coastal floods. Heavy downpours in the summertime result in substantial material damages already today. The combination of high sea water levels and of high flows in Göta River and its tributaries could be disastrous. Rising sea levels and increased precipitation as a result of climate change are a major cause for concern.
In the early 2000s, the municipality began a series of investigations on extreme weather events, which in turn have put the issue big-scale defences in focus. One proposed alternative entails placing movable barriers at the Älvsborg Bridge and Kungälv; a one billion Euro project that might take several years to realize. A flood risk management plan for Gothenburg pursuant the EU Floods Directive is being developed by the County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland. This plan, which must be completed and published by December 2015, will primarily contain knowledge-building measures.