Related - Floodplain Manager November 2019

Queensland Flood Victims Win Class Action Over Dam Negligence

The class action against the Queensland government, Seqwater, and Sunwater has ruled in favour of the negligence claim for the operations of Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams in 2011.

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Justice Robert Beech-Jones said “decisions made by dam engineers ignored the operations manual they helped draft” in the lead up to the 2011 floods which inundated 2,000 homes in Brisbane and Ipswich and claimed the lives of 35 people (FM April, 2011). At the time, the case filed the Queensland Supreme Court did not have the provision for class actions, thus the hearing was held in NSW. The court heard the class action involved more than 2,100 pages of testimony and 26,000 documents, including 700 spreadsheets across 50 volumes. The main argument revolved around calculations regarding the release of water from the Wivenhoe Dam which were based “on the level of water in the dam and not the amount of rain forecast” (Read here, here, and here).

Second Assessment of Climate Risk to Australia

The Cross Dependency Initiative (XDI) has released a report considering hazards across all municipal areas in Australia.

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The report follows on from the first edition released by the Australian Government Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in 2009 which found that between $41-63 billion worth of properties were at risk from coastal impacts. The current report uses improvements in the sophistication and detail of climate models, as well as substantial increases in computing power, to provide a more contemporary picture of Australia’s risk. The analysis assesses climate risk to over 15 million addresses in 544 local government areas (LGAs) between 2020 and 2100, analysing data for five hazards across the nation. The team has used detailed mapping of floods, elevations and soils to accurately pin-point at-risk properties, then applied local weather station data and downscaled climate projections to consider how different climate change models indicate that heat, precipitation, wind and fire weather may change in future. The report found that riverine flooding is a major driver of both Total Technical Insurance Premium (TTIP) and Number of High Risk Properties (HRP#) and that between 2020 and 2100 the TTIP from flooding is projected to increase by 29%. Findings also suggest that risk from coastal inundation commences at a relatively low level but will increase exponentially between 2020 and 2100, with TTIP from coastal inundation projected to increase by 111% (Read here).

Flood Awareness Campaign Launched

The NSW SES has launched a public safety campaign to increase community awareness about flood risk in the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley, but some people are questioning its intent.

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The recently released Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Regional Flood Study (FM August, 2019) estimates that more than 90,000 people would need to be evacuated and more than 12,000 homes would be impacted by floodwaters in a repeat of the flood which devastated the Valley in 1867. To help communities better prepare for, and respond to, future floods, the NSW SES’s $800,000 awareness campaign includes local, digital and outdoor advertising, direct mail and representation at local events across the region. The campaign is accompanied by a new interactive mapping tool which provides easy-to-understand flood risk information for every suburb in the floodplain.

The timing of the campaign – when there is a parliamentary inquiry underway into the planned provision of flood mitigation capacity at Warragamba Dam (FM October, 2019) – has been criticised by some. As Sydney faces dire drought conditions a campaign declaring that “It has flooded in Penrith before. It will happen again” has been dubbed by critics as a thinly veiled strategy to support the dam raising. However, Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres maintains that the timing of the campaign is not correlated with other government initiatives and that it “…is about making sure people understand the threat of flood and are able to prepare for it” and answers research that suggests that only 18% of locals knew they were at risk of flooding.

However, the Resilient Valley, Resilient Communities document (FM May, 2017) sets out a flood risk management strategy for the Valley which includes both flood mitigation at Warragamba Dam and improved community awareness along with seven other key outcomes, so it should come as no surprise that both are being pursued simultaneously (Read here, here, here, and here).

Newcastle Enviro-sensors Help Manage Floods

A $5 million grant has allowed the City of Newcastle to deploy enviro-sensors as part of its smart city infrastructure to deal with weather related hazards and impacts.

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The sensors are designed to measure temperature, humidity, wind direction, air quality, water usage, soil moisture and solar irradiance, among other environmental conditions. The council says the enviro-sensing technology can be used to tackle the urban heat island effect, air pollution, manage floods and improve water sustainability, and monitor the performance of urban systems and assets (Read here).

3D Simulation Shows Effects of Revegetation on Floods

A 3D flood simulation technique which lets flood modelers visualise the impacts of revegetation programs on future floods and river systems was launched at Brisbane’s River Symposium this month.

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The simulation uses high resolution 3D video from gaming technology developed at Queensland University of Technology to aid decision making regarding the allocation of funds to the most effective flood mitigation projects. The project has already had success in providing green infrastructure for improving water quality. For example, a 191 hectare Yandina Creek wetland on the Sunshine Coast bought by water treatment company Unity Water in 2016 is now estimated to save $1 million in nutrient and sediment removal from the Maroochy River. It is hoped that this technology could immerse a landowner in a flood situation and show the positive effects of mitigation efforts such as revegetation (Read here).

Businesses Sue After 2016 Flood

Companies impacted by the Hobart Rivulet wall collapse have launched civil action in the Supreme Court claiming damages of more than $15 million.

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The wall collapsed in July 2016 sending 700 million litres of water into the central Hobart construction site and causing significant structural damage. Documents provided during the court case include the results of a government-ordered audit which revealed that cracks had been appearing in the floors of shops in the Cat and Fiddle Arcade above the Hobart Rivulet three weeks before the collapse. Engineers Gandy and Roberts seemingly failed to include adequate support for the Hobart Rivulet wall in its engineering advice, and Hutchinson Builders failed to provide adequate support to the wall during construction works. Myer, which owns a department store impacted by the collapse, attested that the builders and engineers failed to give proper regard to cracking and movement that occurred in the buildings in the weeks prior to the collapse (Read more here).

Ice Cap Melt Could Cover Tasmania in 5 metres of Water

NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow On Mission (GRACEFO Mission) launched in 2018 showed that in July 2019 more than 30 billion tonnes of Greenland’s ice melted in just three days.

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The mission uses a pair of satellites that weigh the Earth’s water from space by detecting minute changes in gravity, caused by changes in mass on Earth. Using this technique, the GRACE missions have now been documenting the melting of the Greenland ice cap for 17 years and have identified an increase in ice loss over time. The amount of ice that has melted from Greenland since the beginning of the GRACE mission has added approximately 12 to 13 mm of water across the whole of the global oceans. To put this data into perspective, Dr Paul Tregoning of the Australian National University who uses GRACEFO’s data to measure ice loss in Greenland says: “The mass loss in Greenland between August and September 2019 would amount to 42 millimetres of water covering the whole of Australia, or 4.7 metres over the whole of Tasmania” (Read more here ).

Climate Change Modelling Shows Sydney and Melbourne Will Experience More Extreme Weather

Modelling based on a three degree temperature rise reveals that more intense hailstorms and tropical cyclones will track further south in Australia.

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The weather report released by Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research, predicts that warming seas under the modelled scenario will fuel tropical cyclones of about one category stronger compared with the sea temperatures of the 1950s. Additionally, a predicted southward shift in regions exposed to peak cyclone intensity shows that risk is likely to increase in south-east Queensland, north-east NSW regions and south of Shark Bay in Western Australia. IAG managing director Peter Harmer said there was “an urgent need for Australia to prepare for and adapt to climate change” as extreme weather events such as Queensland’s Cyclone Yasi in 2011, which caused more than $3.5 billion in damages, become more frequent (Read more here ).

Ecosystem Balance Devastated by Floods

Dusky rat populations on the Adelaide River Floodplain at Fogg Dam, Northern Territory have plummeted causing a chain reaction of ecosystem effects.

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Deakin University professor Tom Madson who has studied the Adelaide River Floodplain over thirty years, has seen a drastic decrease in the number of water pythons on the floodplain in recent years. Madson believes that local floods in 2007, 2011 and 2018 caused a stark decrease in the number of dusky rats which are the primary food source of numerous predators in the ecosystem. Long term research of trends in the tropical ecosystem show that while seasonal fluctuation in water levels are normal “wildlife populations may be more sensitive to increased frequency of extreme climatic events than to changes in annual average conditions” (Read more here .

Teaching Resilience to Tasmanian Children

Disaster Resilience Education Tasmania (DRET) is an online resource developed by the Tasmania Fire Service designed to help Tasmanian students know more about floods, storms and bushfires.

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The program is a web-based interactive teacher delivery package that teaches young people how to prepare, respond and recover from natural hazard emergencies and helps to build a more resilient community. DRET features lessons on mitigation, planning, and access to Tasmanian flood, storm and bushfire emergency information (Read more here ).

Young Floodplain Managers End of Year Event

Molino Stewart’s Dr Filippo Dall’Osso and Rebecca O’Rourke were delighted to attend the inaugural Young Floodplain Managers (YFM) End of Year event held on 12 November (FM September and October).

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Over 60 industry colleagues were in attendance for a night of fun, frivolity and flood talk. The event provided an excellent network opportunity for those in the field and set the bar for what is to come for this newly formed and endorsed part of Floodplain Management Australia (FMA). The YFM is open to all interested and has a regularly updated LinkedIn page with events and interesting happenings in the Floodplain Management sphere (Read more here).

90% of Typhoon Flooded Homes Get No Assistance

Flooding at depths of less than one metre made up more than 90 % homes damaged by Typhoon Hagibis, however under current Japanese law, financial assistance is limited to flood depths of one metre or more.

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In cases of water damage, the law dictates that disaster victims can be awarded up to 3 million yen, however most homeowners experienced under-floor flooding or floor submersion but not destruction, making them ineligible for such relief. This mismatch between forced repair costs and the criteria for damage assessments has been criticised in light of the disaster which has already exceeded the damages caused by Typhoon Faxai earlier in the year (Read more here ).

Can the Most Vulnerable Become Resilient?

A study by researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK suggests that current flood risk management does not adequately consider the most vulnerable.

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In recent years modelling, managing and protecting against flood risk has been largely technologically focused and not readily transmitted from experts to the public, especially to the most vulnerable. The study highlighted how flood maps can rapidly become dated and inaccurate and may not always consider factors such as the location of lower income families. Furthermore, the utilisation of information provided by flood maps is dependent on the homeowner’s capacity financially or otherwise to achieve mitigation and management suggestions catered to flood risk. Thus, inequality can become entrenched in vulnerability to flooding, particularly in places where flood defences are scarce, and in areas that repeatedly flood. The researchers conclude that social, economic and demographic data should be fully integrated with flood risk management decision-making (Read more here ).

Indian Ocean Dipole Increases Flood Risk to East Africa

In 2019, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) phenomenon is likely responsible for the heavy rains and floods in east Africa now, and in the coming months.

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The current positive IOD occurs due to an imbalance in water temperatures between the western and eastern Indian Ocean. This year the western Indian Ocean has been approximately two degrees warmer than the eastern Indian Ocean and as a result, higher evaporation off the African coastline is being dumped inland as rainfall. The IOD is the subject of multiple studies globally, and weather trends observed during the last IOD extreme in 2006, are being repeated in 2019 with predictions set to see the biggest positive IOD since 1980. The current flood situation in Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan appear to reflect the predictions under a positive IOD as tens of thousands of people have been affected by floods and extreme precipitation already this year (Read more here ).

Urban Development in USA’s Arid West Reduces Flooding

Researchers at Penn State University, USA have found that urban stream syndrome in the arid West is in stark contrast to findings in the east.

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Researchers analysed 14 years of flow records from U.S. Geological Survey stream gauges across 19 catchments to determine how hydrologic characteristics varied with urban development in Phoenix, Arizona. The study found that contrary to results in the east, “flashiness”, a measure of the rise and fall rates of water flow in streams, decreased with the extent of imperviousness in arid, urban, and southwest watersheds. In this arid system, urbanisation was found to increase water retention and leads to less variable flows in stream ecosystems. The research showed that so-called “dry weather flows”, fed by air conditioner condensate, turf grass irrigation, wastewater treatment plant effluent and other more obscure sources, are playing a bigger role in overall streamflow patterns than in the east of the USA (Read more here ).

Value in Green Infrastructure for Managing Urban Floods

Green infrastructure is improving flood management in Vietnam.

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Can Tho’s central urban district, Ninh Kieu, in Vietnam is subject to frequent flooding as a result of dense urbanisation, a high proportion of impermeable surfaces, and a poor drainage system. Using remote sensing imagery and field surveys, channels, lakes and ponds, yards and gardens in public facilities, parks, and the roofs of public buildings in the district were investigated as potential green infrastructure candidates. As such a number of opportunities were explored including dredging of waterbodies, improving riparian vegetation, constructing water channels, creating multi-purpose retention basins, creating levelled seepage to allow controlled runoff, and the possibility of rainwater storage at a household and business level. It was found that on average these measures could increase the drainage capacity by 25% whilst reducing property losses, traffic disruption and public health impacts from flooding (Read more here ).

Sinking House Ploy is a Stark Vision of the Price of Inaction

Extinction Rebellion activists have floated a "sinking house" down the River Thames to highlight the threat of rising sea levels under a changed climate.

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In the wake of widespread flooding in the Midlands and north of England, the publicity stunt aimed to draw attention to the looming threat of climate change and rising sea levels (Read more here ).

Higher Seawalls Lower Perceived Risk

Flood protection infrastructure can lead to low perceived risk, increased development, and thus amplified impacts when extremes eventually occur.

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As extreme weather events such as Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas and Typhoon Hagibis in Japan become more common, the reliance on technocratic flood solutions is questioned. Houston’s flood infrastructure directs water via a series of bayous, canals and reservoirs into the Gulf of Mexico. However, the overflow of water that was to protect the reservoirs due to the unprecedented velocity of Harvey destroyed 135,000 homes and claimed the lives of 88 people. In Japan, 40% of the coastline is lined with seawalls, breakwaters or other structures meant to protect against storms, high waves and tsunamis. However, this did not prevent the deluge of damage and death that followed the recent Typhoon Hagibis (Read more here ).

Old US Dams Present a New Age Risk

A review of US federal data and reports has identified 1,688 high-hazard dams rated as dilapidated or unsatisfactory condition across the USA.

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Approximately 1,000 US dams have failed in the past decade claiming the lives of 34 people and wiping out houses, infrastructure and roads. The average age of the US’s 90,000 dams is over 50 years with the cost of repair for those in poor condition estimated to be in excess of $103 billion. However, as most dams are privately owned, regulators experience challenges in convincing owners to pay steep repair cost despite being urgently required. If increased extreme precipitation events become more frequent under climate change, it is likely that sudden failures of the aged infrastructure may become common, especially without the provision of increased capacity measures such as spillways. About 20% of state-regulated high-hazard dams nationwide still lack emergency plans, meaning that people living in the area are under threat of extreme flooding with little warning or mitigation measures in place. Due to an unregulated rating system for dams, there is a patchwork of data available on dam failure risk and the impact it may have on surrounding communities. Thus, dams could present a contemporary flood threat as rapid urbanisation sees increased building in flood prone areas that may only otherwise be protected by an ageing dam (Read more here ).

Coastal Areas to Flood More than Previously Thought

Researchers have used a new digital elevation model (DEM) to provide more accurate elevation estimates and have found that people affected by sea-level rise could triple by 2050.

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The article published in the Journal of Nature Communications discusses CoastalDEM and its applications in lowering the margin of error and vertical bias for more accurate extreme coastal water level exposure analysis. This model incorporates 23 variables, including population and vegetation indices, and was trained using lidar-derived elevation data in the US as ground truth. Under high emissions, CoastalDEM indicates up to 630 million people live on land below projected annual flood levels for 2100, versus roughly 250 million at present. For example, the model found that more than 20 million people in Vietnam live on land that will be inundated under a changed climate (Read more here and here ).

SWOT Mission is a Promising Contribution to Global Flood Modelling

The 2021 Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission is expected to offer novel observational capabilities in flood detection and monitoring.

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The SWOT mission will be able to simultaneously measure water surface elevations and inundated areas for the Earth’s land surface which is invaluable for improving flood model calibration. The mission, if operational, would have been able to characterise more than half of the historical floods recorded between 1985 and 2018 by the Dartmouth Flood Observatory. However, SWOT measurements will exhibit uneven temporal sampling and may require a combination of data obtained at different times to accurately characterise large events (Read more here).

Local Knowledge not Reducing Flood Risk as it Should

A study on community-based flood risk management in Malawi has found that the importance of local knowledge does little to challenge the power imbalance between local and scientific knowledge on the ground.

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The study undertaken by Robert Šakić Trogrlić of Heriot-Watt University examined the short comings of flood risk management which do not adequately utilise local knowledge in the way intended. The study focused on the Lower Shire Valley in Malawi which has a complex knowledge system that spans from early environmental and meteorological detection indicators, to flood resilience preparation measures, and finally to recovery efforts. Šakić Trogrlić suggests that this system is improved by each exposure to a flood, providing continuous learning and enhanced understanding over time. Although local knowledge is often considered in community-based flood risk management, issues arise with funding, governance, sustainability of implemented interventions and limited community participation. Furthermore, local knowledge is more often used to facilitate the introduction of new technologies and external approaches to communities, suggesting that local knowledge is only valuable as a tool to introduce something ‘new’ rather than to drive change (Read more here).

Risk Perception Drives Flood Losses

An article published in the Hydrological Science Journal has used a socio-hydrological model to simulate the mutual feedbacks between human societies and flood events.

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The article used flood-risk perspective to propose four risk rationalities that shape ideal types of society in relation to hydrological extremes: risk neglecting, risk controlling, risk downplaying and risk monitoring. These rationalities were then subject to a model which included flood height, water level, damage, height of flood, and time with variables of preparedness, implemented measures, flood memory, and demographic growth. The results revealed that the sum of flood losses was strongly related to the level of preparedness and awareness. For example, flood losses are substantially reduced when awareness-raising attitudes are promoted through inclusive, participatory approaches in the community. Whereas, rationalities that rely on top-down hierarchies and structural measures such as levees to protect settlements on floodplains, may still suffer significant losses during extreme events (Read more here).

Why Flood Forecasting is Still Inaccurate

A British hydrologist and flood and hazard forecaster explains the nuances and difficulties of flood predictions even in the modern age.

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Hannah Cloke explains that the UK’s irregular weather patterns and variable landscape makes modelling water paths above and below ground complex and unreliable, with countless predicted outcomes and assumptions. Exacerbating this already convoluted task are unexpected infrastructure failures that can have unpredictable and dramatic effects on floodplains. This was demonstrated during the Whaley Bridge damage earlier this year which required rapid repair and evacuations to avoid a potential catastrophe (FM August). Furthermore, Cloke explains that reliance on historic data may not always provide a good proxy of the future, especially under climate change and a rapidly urbanising landscape. As such, Cloke suggests that inaccuracy in flood forecasting should encourage a shift in the focus of policy makers. Instead of relying on flood defence structures, the government should start planning in areas away from floodplains, and increase the standards of flood -proof design in areas that may be exposed to increased risk (Read more here).

Flood “Fixes” Ignore River Dynamics

An article published in Nature suggests that the assumption of channel stationarity may lead to over or under-prediction of the frequency of out-of-bank flow.

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The study suggests that a number of flood models and defence systems readily assume that rivers are static and overlook their capacity to adjust their geometry, conveyance, planform, extent and drainage density over time in response to shifts in the magnitude and frequency of stream flows and sediment supply. These variables determine a river’s ability to contain flood water as a result of heavy rainfall, soil moisture retention, and overall channel capacity. With this in mind, the researchers took 10,000 measurements of 67 US rivers to test the conceptual model that climate controls rainfall, rainfall affects river flow, and river flow shapes channel capacity. The results showed that river capacity tends to increase during periods that are wetter than average due to greater erosion of river channels, and decrease in drier periods. Furthermore, multi-year climate cycles that affect regional precipitation also changes river capacity, and that high sediment volume rivers with less riparian vegetation may dramatically increase flood risk (Read more here).

Medieval Place Names Reveal Flood Risk

University of Leicester’s Flood and Flow project has studied the linguistic origins of UK’s place-names to provide clues as to whether they were prone to flooding during Medieval times.

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The project focuses on the period 700-1100AD which is when many of the settlements were named and when rapid warming and extreme weather most closely mirrored today’s climate. In England alone two hundred different water-related terms can be found in several hundred place-names; the names were often reflective of landscape features and used in place of physical maps. Stroud, for example, stems from Old English strōd meaning ‘marshy land overgrown with brushwood’. The project also involves the work of fluvial geomorphologists who capture and date layers of sediment in areas with watery names to visualise medieval flood events. The researchers suggest that by identifying place names that indicate the existence of ancient forests that have since been cleared in proximity of watery named places, a historic parallel can be drawn for developing more effective natural flood prevention methods(Read more here).

Are the Dutch the Independent Flood Experts Venice Needs?

As Venice suffers through devastating floods, residents are asking why after 16 years and expenditure of $9.7 billion, are the mobile flood barriers (Mose) still not complete.

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A corruption scandal in 2014 and engineering knowledge that under certain conditions the barriers will begin to oscillate and fail, has left no progress on much needed flood mitigation measures in Venice. In the wake of floods last month, it has been suggested that a wholly independent flood expert examine what has been done, help devise any modifications and assist in the completion process. It has been suggested that the Netherlands could offer this service with extensive experience in building nine dams and four major storm-surge barriers since its own great flood of 1953. Not unlike Delhi, Wuhan, São Paolo and New Orleans which have all consulted with the Netherlands flood protection agency, Venice could gain funding from the European Investment Bank to finally see the Mose completed (Read more here).

Houses Close to the Mississippi are Still in High Demand Despite Flood Risk

Ironically, in places under constant threat of flooding, it is the properties closest to the water that seem to be in the highest demand despite $23.6 billion in lost appreciation.

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Nexus Media News created a tool based on research by First Street Foundation that identifies where people have felt the effect of flooding most acutely. The tool shows the ratio of flood-related losses to median home value in each of the areas studied. The tool revealed that the average flood related loss ratio was 25.2, with the highest relative losses experienced in smaller communities. The fact that people still desire a waterfront home could be explained by greater confidence in the strict building codes and government-backed insurance policies relating to flood risk. Many homebuyers are thought to be lured to flood prone properties due to a perceived invincibility from floods created by homes built on six metre stilts, and designed to withstand storm surges and hurricane force winds (Read more here).

The Economics of Flood Mitigation

The US National Institute of Building Sciences’ Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves study examined the benefits of designing buildings to meet the modern building codes versus the prior 1990’s generation of codes.

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The study showed for example that modern codes which required people to build freeboard into new buildings in riverine floodplains,  was not a requirement in the 1990s in the US.  It also shows that more freeboard costs more up front, but ultimately lowers the long-term cost of ownership. The project team found a national benefit of $11 for every $1 invested (Read more here).

Great Britain’s First National Flood Map Launched

A collaborative project has produced a national flood map, which incorporates current and future predictive flood scenarios for the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s.

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Wales & West Utilities, Landmark and Ambiental have used a dataset which incorporates the latest river flow, rainfall, sea-level rise and climate change predictions available to produce map layers that provide insight into flood hazards and the resulting impacts on property, riverbanks, transport networks, and bridges. Wales & West Utilities is the first utility in the UK to use the data as part of its UK Climate Change Adaptation Risk Assessment. Using the service, Wales & West Utilities can assess how flood risk and river erosion is predicted to vary locally and regionally at different time periods and under different emissions scenarios across its networks which serve 7.5 million people nationwide (Read more here).

Flood Simulation Game

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are creating the World of Wild Waters (WoWW) game to deliver realistic flood and landslide scenarios to policy makers.

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The WoWW game builds on existing hydrological models and real-time rainfall data to calculate flood scenarios. The virtual reality platform allows users to incorporate strategic measures during simulated flood events such as bridge widening, in order to visually observe their impacts. The game also explores high risk flood situations which require time-critical and accurate responses to alleviate the impacts of flooding on a catchment (Read more here).

New Zealand School Wins Award for Developing Local Flood Monitoring and Warning System

A school in Taranaki, NZ has been awarded the Environmental Action in Education Award for its work using drones and digital technology to monitor the condition of the Waitotara River.

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The school of just 12 students has been working on a project supported by Curious Minds Participatory Science to collect data and combine it with Taranaki Regional Council’s monitoring data to provide knowledge of the factors affecting the river’s quality and flow. The issue was poignant to the school which was closed for a number of weeks following extensive flooding in 2015. It is hoped that the project will obtain data that will be useful for creating a flood warning system for the river in the future (Read more here).

International Floods

There were 40 international floods reported across 34 countries throughout November 2019. At least 135 people died and over two million were displaced.

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Internationally significant floods included:

Democratic Republic of Congo

At least one person has died and around 40,000 people have been displaced by flooding along the Ubangi River in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In the worst hit area of Sud-Ubangi province 14,200 houses, 12 schools, 21 bridges, 48 public buildings and wide areas of crops have been damaged. (Read more here and here).


Flooding since early October has killed 17 people and displaced as many as 365,000 in a country that is still recovering from droughts in 2018. The Federal Government of Somalia and the humanitarian community have launched a Flood Response Plan calling for a $72.5 million fund to aid flood victims in the country, with the number of affected people reaching 536,000. (Read more here).


Flooding throughout late October (FM October) and early this month has been the worst experienced in seven years with at least 300,000 people affected in the Borno and Adamawa state. In Borno, flood waters have damaged over 4,000 hectares of farmland and have left thousands of people stranded at refugee camps. In neighbouring Adamawa, 20,000 people have been displaced and non-food and farming items have been handed out to at least 4,000 families. (Read more here).


Extreme rainfall in west Kenya has triggered landslides and flash flooding has killed 54 people and displaced 10,500. Roads have been cut and bridges washed away in floodwaters which has hindered rescue and humanitarian relief efforts. (Read more here).

India and Bangladesh
At least 24 people have died and more than 2 million displaced after Tropical Cyclone ‘Bulbul’ hit coastal areas of Bangladesh and the states of West Bengal and Odisha in north east India. Bulbul made landfall in West Bengal on 9 November bringing with it gusts of 135 km/h and storm surges of up to three metres in some coastal areas of Bangladesh. Barisal in Bangladesh recorded 288.4 mm of rain in the 24 hours following Bulbul’s landfall. Over 26,000 homes were damaged in West Bengal and Odisha, India and in Bangladesh 50,287 houses have been damaged or destroyed and more than 60,000 hectares of crops have been affected. (Read more here).


FRIAR 2020 International Conference on Flood and Urban Water Management
Where: Valencia, Spain
When: 11-13 May 2020
For more information visit here

2020 Floodplain Management Australia Conference
Where: Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, QLD
When: 19-22 May, 2020
For more information visit here

2020 Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Annual National Conference
Where: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
When: 7-12 June 2020
For more information visit here

2020 International Conference on Flood Management
Where: The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
When: 17-19 August, 2020
For more information visit here

FLOODrisk 2020 European Conference on Flood Risk Management
Where: Budapest, Hungary
When: 31 August – 4 September 2020
For more information visit here


New Elevation Projections Used in Interactive Flood Tool

Climate Central has produced a coastal risk screening tool depicting land likely to be below annual flood level in 2050. The tool uses improved elevation data to identify areas in 135 nations that are under increased threats from sea level rise and coastal flooding. (Click here).

Forecast Map of Significant Water Anomalies

IScience has produced a global water watch map which forecasts water anomalies likely to occur based on observed data. This map presents a selection of regions likely to encounter significant water anomalies during the one year period beginning in August 2019 and running through to July 2020 using three months of observed temperature and precipitation data and nine months of forecast data. (Click here).