EU Floods Directive implementation in Austria
Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Vienna, Austria
a Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Floods have the potential to cause fatalities, displacement of people and damage to the environment, to severely compromise economic development and to undermine the economic activities of the Community. The EU Directive on the assessment and management of flood risks [2007/60/EC] was adopted on 23 October 2007. Its aim is to reduce and manage the risks that floods pose to human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity. The paper reflects on how the requirements of the FD had been achieved in Austria and how the nationwide comparability and transferability of results as well as the international coordination had been obtained. Austria as a federal state has its competences structured in different departments as well as administrational levels. Besides administrational characteristics there is also a high diversity in topographical boundary conditions from Alpine areas to lowland areas emphasising different approaches and foci of flood risk management. To harmonise the related interests a discussion and decision committee had been established. The resolutions of this committee then defined the basis for a national coordination procedure where the Federal Ministry provided a “federal blueprint” to the federal provinces. The federal provinces then incorporated their regional and local information and data. Based on this response the coordinated and nationwide comparable FRMP had been set up and had been forwarded to public information and consultation. Complementary stakeholder involvement has been ensured by information and discussion workshops throughout the entire process. The administrational and topographical characteristics to be considered in the frame of FD implementation strengthened the coordination and harmonisation across all sectors and stakeholders related to flood risk management. The FD implementation, therefore, is a holistic attempt to outline the needs for action for all sectors related to risk management. The obligation of reviewing the process on a regular basis and to revise the information if needed supports a sustainable approach by discussing the achievements and deficits transparently. The consideration of residual risk (overload and failure of flood defences) and, hence, the incorporation to national legislation is of substantial relevance especially for awareness raising and public information and consultation. Concluding the implementation of the FD is very valuable for strategic planning (mid-term) on national level which is then linked to existing and well-proven mechanisms of detailed planning and funding. The priorities are set on non-structural measures as well as measures fostering flood retention.
© 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.