Understanding the Costs of Inaction–An Assessment of Pluvial Flood Damages in Two European Cities
Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
Nelen & Schuurmans, Zakkendragershof 34-44, 3511 AE Utrecht, The Netherlands
KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Groningenhaven 7, 3433 PE Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040801
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Challenges of Water Management and Governance in Cities)
Today, over 50% of the global population lives near water. Due to population growth, ongoing economic development, and extreme weather events, urban areas are growing more susceptible to flood risks, and the costs of inaction of failing to manage flood risks are high. Research into the benefits of pluvial flood-risk management is needed to spread awareness and motivate investments in pluvial flood-risk reduction. So far, such research is lacking. This research therefore assesses pluvial flood damage from a single 60 mm/1-h rainfall event in the cities of Rotterdam and Leicester using 3Di flood modelling and the flood damage estimation tool (waterschadeschatter; WSS). The results demonstrate that potential pluvial flood damages exceed €10 million in each city. From this research, inhabitants and authorities of Leicester and Rotterdam can learn that preparing for upcoming pluvial floods can save millions of euros resulting from future damages. The application of these tools also makes clear that data availability is a highly relevant bottleneck to the pluvial flood damage assessment process. By addressing data shortages, flood damage estimates can be strengthened, which improves decision support and enhances the chance actions are taken in reducing pluvial flood risks.