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European Geosciences Union

Research on Flood Resilience and Europe: achievements and future

3 May 2012

by Dr Stephen L Garvin (SMARTeST Coordinator, Building Research Establishment, UK), and Dr Daniel Schertzer and Dr Ioulia Tchiguirinskaia (ENPC, Paris, SMARTeST Partner), session conveners of Flood Resilience and Europe at EGU 2012

The extent and consequences of recent flood events in Europe and worldwide showed that the existing flood defence structures do not guarantee a sufficient protection level for people and properties. Considering the uncertainty of future conditions shaped by main drivers of urban development such as climate change, and rapid urbanization the situation is getting even more severe. Where defences exist, the residual risk will increase as the probability will increase that they fail or be overtopped by severe floods. In this unfavourably changing environment, a substantial rethinking of the existing strategies and paradigm shift from the traditional approaches is required in order to cope with future flooding in an adequate way.

During the EGU General Assembly (Vienna, 22-27 April, 2012), the session Research on Flood Resilience and Europe broadly covered the current research on Flood Resilience in Europe and worldwide. The follow-up splinter meeting, Future of European Research on Flood Resilience, issued the resulting recommendations for future research.

The session EG4: Research on Flood Resilience and Europe was called and organised by the SMARTeST project in the framework of the programme group Europe and Geoscience of the European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU, Vienna, 22–27 April 2012). Other 7th Framework projects such as FloodProbe, and CORFU were represented, as well as the Interreg project RainGain, the projects BlueGreenDream (pending), CAPHAZ-NET, FREEMAN, MPRINTS, WATER2ADAPT and the UNESCO-IHE/TU Delft Resilience Group.

Leading speakers from research and industry around Europe broadly covered the current research on Flood Resilience in Europe and worldwide (e.g. Asia) by presenting the findings of these projects obtained through joint investigation, implementation and dissemination of short to medium term strategies.

The session was followed by the splinter meeting SPM1.36: Future of European Research on Flood Resilience that called for further research in flood resilience technology, systems and tools to protect vulnerable urban areas. It emphasised that there is a need for demonstration projects that can demonstrate the findings presented during the session. Furthermore, the development of standards for technology and tools should be the focus of further research, with unified test standards for flood resilience technology being a matter of increasing urgency. Relevant flood resilience tools and models should see the development of standards for data management and presentation of results and uncertainty to decision makers.

SMARTeST is holding an international conference and flood resilience technology exhibition, in Athens in September 2012 (see, further national events are being held in the seven partner countries.