Integrated water resource and flood risk management: comparing the US and the EU
1 Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 215 Moses Hall, Berkeley, California 94720, US
2 Gould Center for Conflict Resolution, Stanford Law School, and the Water in the West Program, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, US
3 Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, University of California, Berkeley, 8 th Floor Barrows Hall, Berkeley, California 94720, US
a Corresponding author: email@example.com
Floods are the most important natural hazard in the EU and US, causing 700 deaths and at least €25 billion in insured economic losses in Europe since 1998, and causing nearly $10 billion annual average flood losses in the US. Flood control is commonly viewed as a matter of building dykes, dams, and other structures, but effective flood management within the perspective of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) must address multiple components of the flood risk management cycle (Figure 1). We systematically reviewed governance structures, guidance documents, and mapping products in both the EU and US, drawing particular examples from California and Spain, to determine how the US and the EU approach the flood risk management within different IWRM initiatives, which strategies and agencies are involved in the different phases –characterization (flood hazard and risk assessment and mapping), mitigation (prevention and protection), emergency (preparation and response), and (short and long term) recovery-, and how these agencies relate to each other. The regions have strong similarities in economy and environmental values, but have evolved very different approaches to cope with floods. The US and EU have similar organizational structures, but very different legislative frameworks. In the US overarching policy and large scale infrastructure funding have traditionally resided at the federal level with state and local agencies exercising strong land use control. EU member states have arguably advanced ahead of the US in some significant ways since adoption of the EU Floods Directive in 2007, a more top-down approach. Among the Directive’s many components, one important requirement is submission of flood risk management plans (by the end of 2015), which, for first time, take into account all phases of flood management. This umbrella strategy to cope with floods is creating a more consistent and integrated flood risk management approach in Europe. In 2008, the State of California, with over 2500 km of levees, enacted a comprehensive package of flood management legislation and state bond financing that far exceeds federal and other state’s actions. This program known as FloodSafe California provided funding for projects within Integrated Regional Water Management Plans, an attempt to implement IWRM at regional scale. Although the efforts of FloodSafe California represent as a major change in direction in US flood risk management, the actions still do not fully implement the integrated flood risk approach promoted by the EU.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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