River corrections and long-term changes in flood risk in the Aare valley, Switzerland
Institute of Geography, Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
a Corresponding author: email@example.com
Flood risk is changing over time. Beside climatic changes, key drivers for changing flood risks are the modification of the river courses by flood defence structures and the increase in properties exposed to floods due to economic development. In this study, both effects – the modification of the river courses and the increase of economic assets – on the long-term evolution of flood risk were isolated and confronted. To this aim, two states of the river network were compared, one representing the river courses of today and another representing the river courses of the early 19th century before the river corrections took place. Selected observed and well documented flood events of the last decades were modelled on the historic states of the river reaches. The documented flood events were compared with the simulations in terms of inundated area and exposed buildings. Without river corrections, the flooded areas and the number of exposed residential housings would be remarkably higher than observed in recent flood events. The examples show that the effects of the main river corrections are remarkable for today’s economic activities in the floodplains. Therefore, the maintenance of the former river correction works is an important part of today’s risk management practice.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.