Background information

Flood risk management (FRM) requires constant adaptation to changing circumstances, the rate of which is uncertain. Such uncertainties can be tackled by designing robust and flexible adaptation responses. Their design requires insight in the effectiveness of individual adaptation measures, such as flexible structures to control water levels, measures to reduce wave attack, innovative embankments, and measures to reduce flood consequences. The main aim of research was to perform an in-depth interdisciplinary assessment of these innovative types of measures. Read the summary (pdf), the scientific aspects (pdf) and the societal aspects (pdf) of this research.

The research programme has

    • developed methods for assessing
        1. the effectiveness of technical measures and policy instruments to reduce flood risks
        2. the implications of their implementation for urban and countryside environments
        3. the robustness (resilience and resistance) of comprehensive FRM strategies in view of uncertainty about climate change
    • provided guidelines for the design of long-term FRM alternatives and individual measures based on effectiveness (flood risk reduction), robustness and their contribution to the development of entire regions (multi-functional use, natural values and spatial quality)

The Work Packages
We drafted a research programme with six work packages, building on earlier European and Netherlands’ research, whilst adding scientific depth and innovation to the more application-oriented research which is being carried out in other programmes:

    • WP1 questioned whether a system of flexible structures is sufficiently reliable in a setting of river branches and estuaries with multiple openings to the sea, threatened by both rising sea levels and increased river discharges. It took the Rijnmond area as case study and compared it with the Thames estuary (London) and the Elbe estuary (Hamburg) (pdf
    • WP2 questioned the management of coastal dunes under the pressure of a rising sea level and possible changing storm regime. It focused on the Wadden Islands, which provide a protective barrier to the Wadden Sea and its hinterland (pdf)
    • WP3 provided tools for deciding on which type of ‘fail-free’ embankment to opt for in various settings. It had wraped together the wealth of new knowledge and insights from research and practical experience. It built on case studies from different locations and assessed the contribution of robust multi-functional flood defenses to risk reduction at the scale level of entire dike-ring areas (pdf)
    • WP4  has improved the knowledge about the effectiveness and possibilities of putting a halt to the increase of economic damage potentials. It investigated the efficacy of flood risk zoning and associated building codes in areas with flood protection and without (pdf)
    • WP5 s’ key question is how foreign adaptation policies deal with uncertainties of climate change rate. It investigated the pros and cons of insurance arrangements and assessed damage reduction measures for individual property (pdf)
    • WP6 addressed the fundamental issues of how to deal with uncertainties and how to co-create societal value in FRM. More specifically it investigated what robustness means in relation to resilience, resistence, vulnerability, risk, etc., It also questioned what additional requirements the present landscape character poses to designers of new flood defenses, both for countryside environments  and urban environments/ (harbor) cities (pdf)