Special Issue "Integrated Risk Analysis and Management of Floods"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2017)
Historically, flood risk management has been based on the development of fragmented approaches, mainly focused on partial analysis of hazards, insofar as only the floodable area was considered, and in which other important factors, such as sediment loading or flow velocity, were frequently neglected. In this approach, risk mitigation was primarily based on the design of structural measures (e.g., levees, dams, etc.), which were intended to ensure total protection of the population exposed to floods, without considering the environmental impact of these measures, or their possible downstream effects in terms of increasing flood risk.
In recent years, there has been a change of model towards an integrated risk management approach, as the adoption of strictly structural solutions neither is sustainable from an environmental point of view nor it is a guarantee of total protection. For instance, structural mitigation measures, such as levees, tend to lead to loss of lateral connection between river and floodplain, leading to the loss of a great deal of the ecosystem services linked to the fluvial environment. Such measures also have the potential to increase damage downstream, or even in situ, if measures fail. In addition, structural measures are not an absolute guarantee of risk mitigation, as in their design the impact of climate change, or the uncertainty analysis including its propagation among the different steps linked to the flood risk management process have not usually been considered. On the other hand, risk management based solely on structural measures can create a false sense of security among the population, as flood protection is assumed to be complete. Another reason that explains the change in the model is the non-integration of the social dimension into the risk analysis and management process, which has determined that flood risk management plans have often been unsuccessful.
As a result, flood management is leaving the principle of absolute protection, and is beginning to promote, instead, more proactive strategies, which are based on integrated risk management. In this regard, the design of flood risk management plans has been developed in recent years in which risk mitigation, based on the characterization of the uncertainty inherent to the process of risk analysis and management, and the reinforcement of social resilience are objectives compatible with the conservation or restoration of the ecological integrity of the river-floodplain systems. In this context, the concept of resilience provides a practical framework that facilitates risk management plans to identify tangible measures that can reduce exposure and, as a result, improve the reliability of risk management.
This Special Issue of Geosciences discusses recent advances in “Integrated Risk Analysis and Management of Floods”, providing examples from research conducted all over the world. Among the topics to be discussed are:
- Flood risk assessment and management under climate change.
- Improving flood frequency analysis by extending the systematic record with non-systematic data.
- Incorporation of the sediment loading and woody debris into the hydrodynamic modeling, analyzing its influence as amplifying factor of flood risk.
- Flood risk mapping based on stochastic approaches.
- Cost-benefit analysis of mitigation measures (including natured-based solutions).
- Restoration of river-floodplain systems. The flood pulse concept.
- Valuing ecosystemic services from wetlands restoration.
- Vulnerability analysis of people and assets located in flood-prone areas, including cultural heritage exposed to floods.
- Integrate risk perception analysis and the design and implementation of risk communication strategies to flood risk management plans.
Original research on these topics will be welcome for this Special Issue.
Dr. José María Bodoque
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