Holistic flood risk management in the Elbe Estuary- the Pearl approach

Angelika Gruhn, Peter Fröhle, Suleman Shaikh, Dejan Antanaskovic, Ilya Gershovich, Edgar Nehlsen, Zoran Vojinovic

Chair(s): dr. Sanchez Arcilla

Tuesday 30 june 2015

11:30 - 11:45h at Central America (level 0)

Themes: (T) Special session, (ST) Coasts at threat in Europe

Parallel session: 5H. Special session: Coasts at threat in Europe

Following the latest research findings (KLIMZUG- Nord, 2014) and the IPCC report (2013) the Elbe Estuary is likely to be exposed to higher probability and duration of storm surges. Consequently, the existing flood protection infrastructure can be subjected to higher hydrodynamic loads that go beyond their design values. At the same time, the increasing urbanisation of the area behind the protection line leads to the potential increase in the flood risk. A thorough understanding of the complex estuary system exposed to present and anticipated hazards is of crucial importance for the responsible authorities to anticipate the potential impacts of the climate change on the flood risk and develop adequate adaptation strategies. The interactions between floods, their impacts and the adaptation strategies to mitigate the flood risk should be studied, taking a socio technical system as a domain. This paper introduces a systematic approach to assess and manage flood risk of the Estuary system in a holistic manner. An overarching sociotechnical platform is developed that involves the key stakeholders of the Elbe Estuary, who liaise with each other and with the technical platform within the Learning& Action Alliances. On the technical side, the hydrodynamic models have been developed and deployed utilizing the GIS-based open source modelling platform Kalypso (http://sourceforge.net/projects/kalypso/) to assess the present and future hazards to the stability of the protection structures along the Elbe Estuary, their probability and risk to failure. They are coupled with the risk assessment model in order to assess the flood risk before and after the application of flood adaptation strategies Different adaptation measures that are considered are given in Shaikh et al. (2015). In order to provide a user friendly platform to the responsible authorities, the models are automatically connected and executed. The key stakeholders interact with the platform by accessing the domain of their interest (operational or strategic), creating different adaptation scenarios and analysing their impact on the flood risk. The presented research activities are a part of the FP7 project PEARL, (http://www.pearl-fp7.eu) that develops holistic flood risk governance strategies for coastal regions exposed to extreme events.