Integrated Approach to Flood Risk Management
|Full name:||Integrated Approach to Flood Risk Management|
|Area of Intervention:||3.2 Reducing Risks and Impacts of Natural and Man-made Hazards|
|Duration:||May 2010 - October 2012 (30 months)|
Province of Alessandria (Piemonte, IT), South-Transdanubian Environmental Protection and Water Management Directorate (Del-Dunantul, HU), UWM - Engineering Firm (Company) for Environment Management and Hydrology (Bayern, DE), Government of the Province of Styria, Department of water management and urban water management (Steiermark, AT), Płock District (Mazowieckie, PL)
|Lead partner:||Province of Alessandria (Piemonte, IT)|
|Lead partner country:||Italy|
|Contact person:||Mr Franco Gavio|
|Address:||Piazza della Libertà, 17, 15121, Alessandria, Italia|
|+39 0131 303654
+39 0131 303003
Management of water resources is becoming, at a time of scarcity and climate change, more and more complex and is often subject to social tension among people living in the same territory. In this context, the role played by Civil Defence organisations is a key one. At the same time it is made even more difficult by the fact that the only available forecasting models are framed into the main river catchments, which are usually much larger than the smaller ones and the monitoring of which is often irrelevant for correct prediction of event evolution in minor or secondary catchments.
The purpose of a flood forecasting system is to estimate the future states, especially runoff amounts and water levels of hydrologic systems. But a flood forecasting system seldom is a stand-alone construction. In fact, the overall objective for each flood forecasting system is to deliver warnings to the population at risk to reduce human and economic losses. It should therefore be integrated in a structure dedicated to flood warnings where flooding dynamic and effective and robust communication to Civil Defense are key elements to mitigate damages.
Consequently, the main activity of the INARMA project will consist in developing common methodologies for the management of water emergencies and of there from deriving landscape risks. This objective involves the application of the non-structural interventions for water risk management contained in the recent EU Directive 2007/60 on sub-regional catchment basins, and enactment of the specific operational procedures followed by Civil Defense Organizations.
The general objective of the project is to create a model for the management of critical hydrological events in minor river catchments of sub-regional importance, which are very numerous throughout the European Union.
The specific project objectives can be outlined as follows:
- to prevent and mitigate the damages derived by highly critical hydro-geological events through the adoption of non-structural interventions
- to secure economic and social cohesion in what are considered marginal regions (a condition common to many areas located in sub-regional river catchments)
- to achieve co-ordinated water emergency management by using the resources actually available on the territory
- to minimize flood risks threatening the population in areas of high hydro-geological vulnerability at both economic and social level.
- to compare the specific procedures adopted by local authorities and governments in order to find solutions for efficiency enhancement
- to define new standards for intervention
- to build up local and transnational networks for flash flood risk management
- to perform pilot actions (flash flood simulation)
One of the main focuses of the project is to transmit appropriate information to the Civil Defence for achieving optimum damage mitigation. Results from existing hydraulic studies will be incorporated to supply communication with civil defense organisations, and the system will provide the necessary structure for alarming the population at risk and supporting operational civil defense actions.
In field-tests an operational standard for flash-flood emergency management will be tested. This will be done by carrying out two Civil Defense exercises: the first will be performed in “remote mode” with people involved operating from their respective locations and managing operations from their command posts in close interaction with one another and with the technicians working as scientific source of simulation data. This simulation will be the first project milestone and will enable the partnership to create the Best Practice guide for flash flood emergency management. It will thus be the ground for upgrading and fine-tuning the emergency management standard, and will provide the feedback data according to which the second and final Civil Defense exercise will be organized. The second exercise will validate and consolidate the operational standard for flash-flood emergency management.
Summary of activities:The Inarma project aims to prevent unexpected calamities called “flash floods” in small river basins, through the adoption of a specific software designed to alert the local Civil Defence forces and the population as a whole in time, before any damage is caused. After the first combined software-based Civil Defence Exercise held in Płock, Poland, in April 2012, the partners’ attention was focused on fine-tuning the interdependence between the software implementation and the operations performed on the ground. This target was achieved through the two-day Civil Defence Exercise no. 2, organized in Alessandria, Italy on the 1st and 2nd of March 2013. This event not only summoned all the partnership’s experts, but put more than five hundreds local operators in the field simulating various emergency management operations in the event of flood calamities. The core of the drill consisted of strengthening interaction between the software-based information and ground operations.
Based on technical indications the software provided reliable information on where assistance is needed urgently (evacuation of population, rescue from danger of drowning, warning in the event of unsafe bridges, etc.). The final outcome was positive, although some criticalities arose during the exercise. These problems were discussed in depth during the Final Conference held in Alessandria on the 25th of March 2013. Disaster managers, target groups, local and government authority representatives coming from all of Piedmont, along with partnership’s experts, after having carefully analyzed every single step of the exercise, reached the conclusion that this new approach (interaction between ICT and ground activities) must set the pace for further guided experiments, whose progressive developments are expected to bring about a drastic reduction of loss of life.
This project, as the experts have stated, can be considered the first step towards an innovative way to face flash flood calamities in small river basins, and new developments are welcome, such as trigger alarms through cell phones. The Inarma project, of which the partnership is very proud, has opened the ground towards this new frontier.