How Flooding in a Changing Climate and Urbanisation Presents Opportunities

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A paper that Richard Ashley, Berry Gersonius, and Bruce Horton authored presents new and sustainable approaches towards a truly sustainable water service.

It tackles the issue of traditional approaches to urban water management. Although it has maintained the public health and safety in the UK and other developed countries for more than two centuries, will not be sustainable in the face of rapid climate change, environmental degradation, urbanization, human demands, and deteriorating assets.

New approaches to water management treat all forms of water as potential opportunities, adding to the quality of urban areas, and preferring nature-based approaches that can in more value and functions.

The changing perspective on how water should be managed will usher in changes to the professional practices in all sectors and would require a need to support engineers and others towards a more integrated approach.

The paper summarizes the traditional approach to water and flood management that treats water as a “problem” and thus engineer-led, followed by a new approach that sees water as a potential opportunity.

While focusing on urban flood risk management, the paper presents the contrast between the traditional approach with the new one.

Three case studies are presented in the paper, two case-studies showing the rationale of assessing the financial valued of nature-based options for flood and water quality management and how it brings multiple benefits.

The two cases address flood risk and the other water quality improvements while demonstrating how benefits can extend beyond water-related categories to improving property values.

One of the biggest barriers to maximize future decisions about water management is how the water domain is governed and how institutions are placed and regulate the system.

Major shifts are required one from the traditional thinking of “we know it works” to one that views water as an opportunity with the willingness to work with other profession and engage with communities.

There are signs that a shift is taking places like in Philadelphia, USA or Greener Grangetown in Cardiff, Wales.

Barriers need to be identified or taken down if necessary and by taking inspirations on what has been achieved as shown in the case studies and even the revolution achieved in water management in Australia in 20 plus years.

Read the entire study by clicking on the link below:

Source citation:

Ashley, R., Gersonius, B., & Horton, B. (2020). Managing flooding: from a problem to an opportunity. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A378: 20190214.

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