Shifts in flood risk strategies

Flood risks can be managed using one or multiple of these strategies:

  1. Flood Risk Prevention (“keeping people away from water”). Flood-related risks can be structurally prevented by pro-active spatial planning as well as land use policies, e.g. by proactively locating housing or building areas at a safe distance or altitude.
  2. Flood Defence (“keeping water away from people”). Flood risks can be prevented by (structural) infrastructural works, dikes, dams, embankments, sluices etc.
  3. Flood Mitigation. The consequences of floods can be mitigated through spatial planning, building orders, or regulations such as conditions for building houses in flood prone areas or retention of water in the river basin.
  4. Flood Preparation. The consequences of floods can also be mitigated by preparing well for flood events, through developing flood warning systems and prepare disaster management and evacuation plans.
  5. Flood Recovery. The last strategy focuses on recovering from floods. In this respect reconstruction or rebuilding plans as well as insurance systems are relevant.

Until recently most countries and regions in Europe were focused on flood defence. Yet, The EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC) and the UNIDSR Hyogo framework ask for a diversification of flood risk strategies. This is reflected in discussions in several EU Member States about diversifying flood risk strategies. Diversification means the application of multiple strategies simultaneously, as well as establishing links between different strategies.

See also: D1.1.4 Similarities and differences between the STAR-FLOOD consortium countries