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Adaptive flood risk management planning based on a comprehensive flood risk conceptualisation

Adaptive flood risk management planning based on a comprehensive flood risk conceptualisation

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 20(6): 845-864

Densely populated deltas are so vulnerable to sea level rise and climate change that they cannot wait for global mitigation to become effective. The Netherlands therefore puts huge efforts in adaptation research and planning for the future, for example through the national research programme Knowledge for Climate and the Delta Programme for the Twenty-first century. Flood risk is one of the key issues addressed in both programmes. Adaptive management planning should rely on a sound ex-ante policy analysis which encompasses a future outlook, establishing whether a policy transition is required, an assessment of alternative flood risk management strategies, and their planning in anticipation without running the risk of regret of doing too little too late or too much too early. This endeavour, addressed as adaptive delta management, calls for new approaches, especially because of uncertainties about long-term future developments. For flood risk management, it also entails reconsideration of the underlying principles and of the application of portfolios of technical measures versus spatial planning and other policy instruments. To this end, we first developed a conceptualisation of flood risk which reconciles the different approaches of flood defence management practice and spatial planning practice in order to bridge the gap between these previously detached fields. Secondly, we looked abroad in order to be better able to reflect critically on a possible Dutch bias which could have resulted from many centuries of experience of successful adaptation to increasing flood risk, but which may no longer be sustainable into the future. In this paper, we explain the multiple conceptualisation of flood risk and argue that explicitly distinguishing exposure determinants as a new concept may help to bridge the gap between engineers and spatial planners, wherefore we show how their different conceptualisations influence the framing of the adaptation challenge. Also, we identify what the Netherlands may learn from neighbouring countries with a different framing of the future flood risk challenge.

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Accession: 065679210

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PMID: 30197554

DOI: 10.1007/s11027-015-9638-z

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