Flood Risk Management is by definition dealing with uncertainty. Floods occur often enough, but the timing and location of flood events are uncertain, and so is the response of society. But the concepts and methods of flood risk analysis and management are progressively tuned to deal with this kind of uncertainties.
Global change, however, holds uncertainties of a different kind. Climate change, sea level rise, increasing rainfall and storm incidences, and possibly changing river discharge regimes influence flood hazards to an unprecedented and uncertain degree. Demographic changes, urbanization, economic development, increasing dependency on global networks and critical infrastructure make societies more complex and more vulnerable to flooding and prone to increasing inequality.
The gradual but uncertain changes challenge both flood risk management science and practice:
- what do we know about these changes, and how to take them and the related uncertainties into account in our methods?
- and how to cope with uncertainty and change in practice?
The first may require the application of new technologies for monitoring, to exploit big and real-time data, as well as the development of new methods for risk analysis and decision support. The second may require practical guidance for building resilience, views on gradual adaptation into the future or an action perspective for managing a transition of our flood risk management policies. In this context we, obviously, relate to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the UN (2016) and to the Sendai agreement on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). And, habitually for all FLOODrisk conferences, we are committed to the EU-Directive on Flood Risk Assessment and Management.
This challenge of scientific innovation and practical adaptation is too big for the current generation of scientists and practitioners. FLOODrisk2020 is therefore committed to attract, coach and listen to the next generation of scientists and practitioners who will future-proof our research methods and help to improve our flood risk management practice in order to better cope with deep uncertainty.