Thursday, 17 January 2013

Recap: Flood risk assessment in urban areas and how to adapt

Today we will recap the presentation by Rambøll at the event "Planning for the future: how to use our water resources more efficiently", 15 January 2012.

Rambøll - Flood risk assessment in urban areas and how to adapt
by Henrik Sønderup

Rambøll have been doing a lot of interesting work and research on flood risk assessment after the heavy rains in Denmark on July 2nd, 2011.

Looking at various parameters Rambøll has been able to create an assessment of which areas of Frederiksberg, in Copenhagen, would require the most attention in case such floods repeated itself.
Basically this is calculating estimated annual costs due to flooding - and what is the likelihood of flooding in a specific location and what are the costs?

The first part of the question is easy for engineers to assess and answer, yet the second part of the question takes into account not only the financial costs of flooding but also the human costs. Damage costs are usually available from the insurance companies, or local authorities.

EUs flooding directive - climate adaption plans is established "to assess if all water courses and coast lines are at risk from flooding, to map the flood extent and assets and humans at risk in these areas and to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce this flood risk."

By using integrated modelling to assess the risk of flooding Rambøll is able to make justifiable claims to where resources should be put to use in the case of a disaster. However, what are the socioeconomic consequences of floods? This can be examined on various levels; on a national level, on a city level even down to an individual business.

To round off the presentation, the concept of adapting urbanization to prepare for flooding, looked at how open spaces and recreational areas could become basins for potential flood water, and how old rivers such as "Ladegaards Å" which runs underground through Frederiksberg can be used to divert flood waters efficiently.

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