As drought grips large swathes of Australia, my attention was drawn to the impacts of recent flooding in Japan. While that country appears to be well prepared and drilled for the frequent earthquakes which it experiences, it seems to have been caught unaware by the magnitude of the flooding and its direct and indirect impacts. It may be due to the same mentality which saw widespread devastation from the tsunami in 2011 because it exceeded anything which had been previously recorded and preparations in some locations did not contemplate those consequences or how to respond. Many towns protected by tsunami barriers were surprised when the tsunami overtopped them.
There are a couple of interesting resources referenced in this edition which explore the phenomenon of the "levee effect” and how that influences human behaviour before and during floods. It is also interesting to read that there is a recommendation to increase flood protection across the UK, adopting a minimum of the 1 in 200 chance per year event but providing 1 in 1,000 chance per year protection in densely populated urban areas. Meanwhile, New York is rebuilding neighbourhoods devastated by flooding during Hurricane Sandy with apartments which are designed to be flood resilient. Of course the questions remain, "what sized flood are they resilient up to?” and "what happens when that flood is exceeded?”
I am pleased that in many parts of Australia we are expected to consider the consequences of floods through to the probable maximum flood. However, as I have pointed out in some recent matters where I have provided expert evidence, that does not mean that in all cases all potential consequences need to be eliminated. As with all forms of risk there comes a point where you either accept the risk as being acceptable because the chance of it occurring is so remote or the consequences are not significant, or you tolerate the risks because the benefits of taking on the risks outweigh the costs of avoiding them.
As always, I hope that Floodplain Manager helps inform flood risk management decisions through providing information on the latest research, tools, resources and experiences.
There were 22 international floods reported across 19 countries throughout July 2018. At least 350 people died and over 1.6 million people were displaced. Internationally significant floods included: Japan Japan was the nation most significantly affected by floods in July in what was designated as a severe disaster by the […]
The longest glass-panelled flood defence wall in the UK has now been completed in Paull which is located on the north bank of the Humber Estuary.
Funding for flood defences usually falls on the shoulders of governments but a group of residents in the UK have funded their own flood mitigation project.
New York luxury apartments have finished construction along the southern coast of Brooklyn – an area which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The UK is set to increase the minimum national standard of flood resilience to 0.5% annual exceedance probability (AEP) by 2050 in accordance with recommendations from the National Infrastructure Commission.
A recent study investigated whether people’s evacuation behaviour during a natural disaster is related to the size and extent of their social network.
Satellite images from NASA have allowed researchers to develop the most comprehensive global map of rivers.
A new satellite is to be launched which will be able to calculate flow duration curves for rivers as narrow as 50 m.
Two new studies offer insights into the potential magnitude of coastal flood damage and global economic consequences as a result of forecast sea level rise.
A recent study published in Biological Conservation highlighted the significant effect of resource development on wetland dependent waterbirds in the Narran Lakes.
According to two new studies published in Nature Climate Change, weather in Australia is expected to become more extreme.
The 2018 Harold Sternbeck Medal is awarded by Floodplain Management Australia (FMA) each year to recognise the best paper presentation at the FMA Annual Conference. The 2018 winner, announced on 1 July, was Michael McMahon from HDR Engineering for his paper presentation entitled ‘Harvey, Irma, Maria, Debbie, Marcia and Yasi: […]