Adaptation to Meuse Flood Risk (2010-2012)

In 1993 and 1995 the Meuse overflowed its banks, leading to extensive flood damage in the Netherlands. Due to climate and land use change, the frequency of high-flows is expected to increase in the future. Furthermore, the potential damage of floods is expected to increase due to socioeconomic developments in flood-prone areas. Both of these factors can be assessed through the concept of flood risk (defined as probability of flooding x damage). In Europe, the flood risk management approach has been given added impetus by the European Flood Directive of 2007. However, there is currently a lack of knowledge internationally on the sensitivity of flood risk to long-term changes in physical and socioeconomic parameters.

Meuse FloodGiven the expected increases in flood probability and risk, research is needed to provide adaptation measures that can maintain future safety. Therefore, the steering committee IVM2 was set up to assess which measures will be needed post-2020 to ensure that the Meuse continues to comply with flood defence laws. However, the effectiveness of flood defence measures has traditionally only been assessed in terms of their contribution to reducing flood probabilities. The damages associated with low probability flood events are high, and hence adaptation should also aim to reduce potential damage. Flood risk modelling facilitates the assessment of the impacts of adaptation measures on flood risk, but is rarely used to assess adaptation measures at the basin-scale.

Research aims
In the proposed research we aim to assess the sensitivity of Meuse flood risk to changes in climate, land use, and socioeconomic development. This will be carried out by combining a number of models developed partly under the KvR-ACER and AvV projects. Thereby, we will contribute to the emerging scientific discourse in this field, whilst also providing concrete risk estimates for the Meuse. Moreover, we will develop new spatial planning based adaptation strategies, in a multi-stakeholder workshop setting. Next to scientific advances made in this research, we will provide usable results for stakeholders Rijkswaterstaat Waterdienst, Provincie Limburg, Waterschap Roer en Overmaas. To realize this Kennis voor Klimaat Project HSGR06, IVM cooperates with Deltares.

Contact information: Dr Philip Ward