FLOOD-ERA − Flood risk management strategies in European Member States


Department of Economics and Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology

Volker Meyer
Christian Kuhlicke


BMBF − Germany
Defra − United Kingdom
Lebensministerium − Austria


10/2006 − 04/2008


FLOOD-ERA aims at improving the evaluation of structural and non-structural measures (e.g. dike heightening vs. land use changes) under conditions of different context factors. Among them, the main focus is upon risk perceptions of decision makers, since from earlier research one might assume that this factor is a crucial one in decision processes concerning different types of flood measures of which, however, is rarely taken notice. The overall goal of the project is to develop a basic methodology to analyse and to evaluate measures of flood risk management. The working programme encompasses site-specific investigations of flood risk management strategies in different regional case studies in Austria, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Within the project, the UFZ is mainly involved in two fields:

a) Exploration/examination of decision contexts and risk estimation of decision makers.
This part of the project pursues a social science perspective. The aim is to gain a better understanding of choices for a certain flood protection measure type and the reasons for avoiding another by different decision makers.It focuses on the background of decision makers in terms of their functional education, professional socialisation and practical experience as well as on the conditions of acting and deciding within their specific institutional context. Thus, for the project, a number of interviews is being conducted to understand and explain contextual links between decisions and the importance of knowledge, experience as well as positive and negative expectations of decision makers.

b) Methods for evaluating the efficiency of structural and non-structural measures.
In this part of the project exemplary measures at the River Mulde are evaluated by means of cost-effectiveness analysis and cost-benefit analysis. Furthermore, the economic evaluation will be extended by the analysis of transaction costs, i.e. costs for the decision making and implementation of measures. It will be investigated to what extent such transaction costs are associated with the decision making process about structural/non-structural measures and methods will be tested in order to quantify them.

The project has been finished successfully in April 2008. The final report will be available soon.