Preparing for Extreme And Rare events in coastal regions (PEARL)

LEAD ORGANIZATION

IHE DELFT

ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED

Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg; DHI; National Technical University of Athens; Stiftelsen Sintef; Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis; King’s College London; Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine; The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge; CETaqua, Centro Tecnológico del Agua, Fundación Privada; University of Stuttgart; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.; University of Exeter; ARTELIA Eau et Environnement SAS; GISIG – Geographical Information Systems International Group; World Meteorological Organization; International Water Association; Hydrometeorological Innovative Solutions HYDS; Satways; HydroLogic Research BV; Technische Universiteit Delft; ICHARM; Asian Institute of Technology; National Taiwan Ocean University

Problem Statement

Observations confirm that disasters being triggered by hydro-meteorological events, interconnected and interrelated with both human activities and natural processes, are increasing the need for holistic approaches to help us understand their complexity in order to design and develop adaptive risk management approaches that minimise social and economic losses and environmental impacts and increase resilience to such events.

Case Study

Coastal floods are regarded as one of the most dangerous and harmful of all natural disasters. Rapid urbanisation in coastal areas combined with climate change and poor governance can lead to a significant increase in the risk of pluvial flooding coinciding with high water levels in rivers and high tide or storm surges from the sea, posing a greater risk of devastation in coastal communities.

There is a need to improve forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities using state of the art science and technology to help policy makers and emergency services to develop robust risk reduction strategies. Of equal importance is the ability to effectively warn the population in areas that will be affected, and that warning systems for the general public are integrated into broader management strategies and supported by appropriate institutional and organisational arrangements. The PEARL project is filling in the lack of interaction between social aspects and technical measures – appearing to be a major hindrance for solving some of the greatest problems associated with floods and flood-related disasters.

Based on the belief that problems are best solved by attempting to correct or eliminate root causes, as opposed to merely addressing the immediately obvious symptoms, the PEARL project is developing adaptive risk management strategies for coastal communities focusing on extreme hydro-meteorological events, with a multidisciplinary approach integrating social, environmental and technical research and innovation. PEARL considers all fundamentals in the risk governance cycle, focusing on the enhancement of forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities and the building of resilience and reduction of risk through learning from experience and the avoidance of past mistakes.

Key Concepts

Coastal floods are regarded as one of the most dangerous and harmful of all natural disasters. Rapid urbanisation in coastal areas combined with climate change and poor governance can lead to a significant increase in the risk of pluvial flooding coinciding with high water levels in rivers and high tide or storm surges from the sea, posing a greater risk of devastation in coastal communities.

There is a need to improve forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities using state of the art science and technology to help policy makers and emergency services to develop robust risk reduction strategies. Of equal importance is the ability to effectively warn the population in areas that will be affected, and that warning systems for the general public are integrated into broader management strategies and supported by appropriate institutional and organisational arrangements. The PEARL project is filling in the lack of interaction between social aspects and technical measures – appearing to be a major hindrance for solving some of the greatest problems associated with floods and flood-related disasters.

Based on the belief that problems are best solved by attempting to correct or eliminate root causes, as opposed to merely addressing the immediately obvious symptoms, the PEARL project is developing adaptive risk management strategies for coastal communities focusing on extreme hydro-meteorological events, with a multidisciplinary approach integrating social, environmental and technical research and innovation. PEARL considers all fundamentals in the risk governance cycle, focusing on the enhancement of forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities and the building of resilience and reduction of risk through learning from experience and the avoidance of past mistakes.

Outcomes

  • Knowledge base platform of resilient measures
  • Models and tools: e.g., agent based risk assessment, damage assessment, hazards, Multi Criteria Analysis
  • Web applications for early warning dissemination: e.g., Water Detective application - water related events reporting tool / using crowd sourcing
  • Frameworks and concepts for holistic risk governance
  • Learning Action Alliance with key stakeholder to develop road maps to address risks and identify solutions for the future
  • Linking science to policy through policy briefs and disseminating key products to a wider audience through briefing notes
  • Link between technical tools and social aspects

Lessons Learned

  • Not all stakeholders are open to new approaches – important to have stakeholder engagement throughout the process
  • Avoid duplicating work - activities with other EU financed projects on related issues (RISKIT, ASTARTE, …)
  • Capacities (data available and know-how) are different for the case study areas

PROJECT WEBSITE OR RESOURCES

KEY WORDS

Climate Change, Forecast, Extreme Hydro-Meteorological Events, Holistic, Risk Governance, Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment, Early Warning, Stakeholder Participation

COUNTRIES OR REGIONS INVOLVED

Europe, Asia and the Caribbean

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

Water managers, Urban planners, Municipalities, Decision-makers

About the Knowledge Platform

The Knowledge Platform is designed to promote and showcase an emerging set of approaches to water resources management that address climate change and other uncertainties -- increasing the use of "bottom-up approaches" through building capacity towards implementation, informing relevant parties, engaging in discussion, and creating new networks. This is an ongoing project of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) funded by the World Bank Group.

Contact AGWA

Alliance for Global Water Adaptation
7640 NW Hoodview Cir.
Corvallis, Oregon 97330
USA
http://alliance4water.org