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From false sense of security to residual risk: Communicating the need for new floodplain development models

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Abstract

Despite decades of research on floods, flood control, and floodplain management, the tendency is for residents and governments to repeat the past. Development continues in floodplains, rebuilding occurs after events with emphasis on controlling the flood, and upstream and upland development takes place with little consideration of its effects on flooding. Our history with managing floods has centered on flood control which still leaves a residual risk that is usually ignored because of the false sense of security generated by the control measures. Using case studies, this paper argues for a comprehensive approach that is centered on three elements: appropriate risk communication, comprehensive analyses of land use decisions, and attaching responsibiity for risky choices at the level where the decision is made.

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... First, these measures are, in a long-term, economically unbearable and unsustainable [3,10,28,59,87]; • Second, these measures cannot provide absolute protection [9,11,41,94], they can fail in providing protection in general [11,41,65,69,95], and there is, therefore, always some residual risk associated with them [2,62,96]; • Third, due to the structural measures' ability to lower the (perceived) frequency of floods, or to provide protection against minor floods, the construction and presence of such measures often leads to underestimation of the risk, (false) sense of security, (further) socio-economic development in the flood-prone areas, and through inhibiting the sense of one's own responsibility, to people's inaction regarding the private protection and mitigation measures [2,3,9,15,31,56,75,76,[96][97][98]. As a result of this "levee effect" [2,95,97], a major flood may, in combination with insufficient protection and preparedness [11], increase the damages and losses [78]. ...
... First, these measures are, in a long-term, economically unbearable and unsustainable [3,10,28,59,87]; • Second, these measures cannot provide absolute protection [9,11,41,94], they can fail in providing protection in general [11,41,65,69,95], and there is, therefore, always some residual risk associated with them [2,62,96]; • Third, due to the structural measures' ability to lower the (perceived) frequency of floods, or to provide protection against minor floods, the construction and presence of such measures often leads to underestimation of the risk, (false) sense of security, (further) socio-economic development in the flood-prone areas, and through inhibiting the sense of one's own responsibility, to people's inaction regarding the private protection and mitigation measures [2,3,9,15,31,56,75,76,[96][97][98]. As a result of this "levee effect" [2,95,97], a major flood may, in combination with insufficient protection and preparedness [11], increase the damages and losses [78]. ...
... The first aspect has been already, though rather implicitly, answered within previous sections of the paper: besides factors such as underestimation of the threat, transfer of responsibility to (and reliance upon) someone/something else, lack of awareness, unavailability or insufficient utilization of relevant information, infrequency of floods, or their low importance for the overall quality of life, the ever-changing and often place-specific interplay of many other personal, financial/economic, political, historical, or environmental factors influencing the decision-making processes throughout the whole spectrum of agents (from individual households to governments) needs to be taken into account here. In effect then, in general, the socio-economic development (including housing construction) in floodplains continues or even accelerates [1,5,62,64,68,85,96,141,150]. ...
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Based on the literature review, this paper synthesizes recent state of knowledge on flood risk perception and related human behaviors. The main attention is paid to private precautionary and mitigation measures, and the reasons why these are (not) adopted by agents such as individual households. Results of a wide range of relevant studies are presented and critically examined. The findings are presented within an interpretive framework established during the review process; six key themes (responsibility, risk perception, people and social environment, geography of risk, emotions, theories and conceptual models) and several sub-themes closely related to them were identified by the content/thematic analysis. These were then utilized to overview and discuss particular factors and issues involved, as well as various relevant theoretical underpinnings and conceptual models. The review identifies, illustrates, and addresses not only the consensual views and contradictory findings of flood risk research, but also several related and essential ambiguities, uncertainties, and knowledge gaps. Based on these findings, suggestions for future research are discussed, including the terminological, semantic, methodological, theoretical, and ethical aspects. The paper thus serves two main tasks: (a) It is a useful reference/departure point for those with research interests in topics and issues such as flood risk perception, flood risk protective and mitigation behaviors and measures, or flood risk management in general; and (b) it provides suggestions and incentives for future flood risk research agenda.
... , zákon č. 183/2006 Sb., o územním plánování a stavebním řádu, ve znění pozdějších předpisů]. Pokud nejsou tyto limity či omezení dodržovány, dochází ke konfl iktům, které mohou mít různou závažnost [Dai et al. 2001, Voženílek 2002, Montz a Tobin 2008, Gallay 2010, Pechanec a kol. 2011]. ...
... 2007). If those limits and restrictions are not observed, conflicts of various gravity may arise (Dai et al. 2001, Voženílek 2002, Montz a Tobin 2008, Gallay 2010, Pechanec et al. 2011. ...
... An additional issue is that many flood control structures built in the U.S. are reaching the end of their economic and/or engineering lives. Such a situation presents a precarious situation, but also offers an opportunity to rethink our approach to flood management, providing three options: (i) replacing or repairing structures in kind; (ii) building them better than ever by raising design standards; or (iii) implementing a comprehensive approach to flood management that takes a watershed scale vision to mitigation (Montz and Tobin 2008). The short and long term impacts, both direct and indirect, of each of these options require careful analysis so we do not repeat problems of the past. ...
... An additional issue is that many flood control structures built in the U.S. are reaching the end of their economic and/or engineering lives. Such a situation presents a precarious situation, but also offers an opportunity to rethink our approach to flood management, providing three options: (i) replacing or repairing structures in kind; (ii) building them better than ever by raising design standards; or (iii) implementing a comprehensive approach to flood management that takes a watershed scale vision to mitigation (Montz and Tobin 2008). The short and long term impacts, both direct and indirect, of each of these options require careful analysis so we do not repeat problems of the past. ...
... An additional issue is that many flood control structures built in the U.S. are reaching the end of their economic and/or engineering lives. Such a situation presents a precarious situation, but also offers an opportunity to rethink our approach to flood management, providing three options: (i) replacing or repairing structures in kind; (ii) building them better than ever by raising design standards; or (iii) implementing a comprehensive approach to flood management that takes a watershed scale vision to mitigation (Montz and Tobin 2008). The short and long term impacts, both direct and indirect, of each of these options require careful analysis so we do not repeat problems of the past. ...
... An additional issue is that many flood control structures built in the U.S. are reaching the end of their economic and/or engineering lives. Such a situation presents a precarious situation, but also offers an opportunity to rethink our approach to flood management, providing three options: (i) replacing or repairing structures in kind; (ii) building them better than ever by raising design standards; or (iii) implementing a comprehensive approach to flood management that takes a watershed scale vision to mitigation (Montz and Tobin 2008). The short and long term impacts, both direct and indirect, of each of these options require careful analysis so we do not repeat problems of the past. ...
... An additional issue is that many flood control structures built in the U.S. are reaching the end of their economic and/or engineering lives. Such a situation presents a precarious situation, but also offers an opportunity to rethink our approach to flood management, providing three options: (i) replacing or repairing structures in kind; (ii) building them better than ever by raising design standards; or (iii) implementing a comprehensive approach to flood management that takes a watershed scale vision to mitigation (Montz and Tobin 2008). The short and long term impacts, both direct and indirect, of each of these options require careful analysis so we do not repeat problems of the past. ...
... An additional issue is that many flood control structures built in the U.S. are reaching the end of their economic and/or engineering lives. Such a situation presents a precarious situation, but also offers an opportunity to rethink our approach to flood management, providing three options: (i) replacing or repairing structures in kind; (ii) building them better than ever by raising design standards; or (iii) implementing a comprehensive approach to flood management that takes a watershed scale vision to mitigation (Montz and Tobin 2008). The short and long term impacts, both direct and indirect, of each of these options require careful analysis so we do not repeat problems of the past. ...
... An additional issue is that many flood control structures built in the U.S. are reaching the end of their economic and/or engineering lives. Such a situation presents a precarious situation, but also offers an opportunity to rethink our approach to flood management, providing three options: (i) replacing or repairing structures in kind; (ii) building them better than ever by raising design standards; or (iii) implementing a comprehensive approach to flood management that takes a watershed scale vision to mitigation (Montz and Tobin 2008). The short and long term impacts, both direct and indirect, of each of these options require careful analysis so we do not repeat problems of the past. ...
... An additional issue is that many flood control structures built in the U.S. are reaching the end of their economic and/or engineering lives. Such a situation presents a precarious situation, but also offers an opportunity to rethink our approach to flood management, providing three options: (i) replacing or repairing structures in kind; (ii) building them better than ever by raising design standards; or (iii) implementing a comprehensive approach to flood management that takes a watershed scale vision to mitigation (Montz and Tobin 2008). The short and long term impacts, both direct and indirect, of each of these options require careful analysis so we do not repeat problems of the past. ...
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