The added value of system robustness analysis for flood risk management

M.J.P. Mens, F. Klijn

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Decision makers in fluvial flood risk management increasingly acknowledge that they have to prepare for extreme events. Flood risk is the most common basis on which to compare flood risk-reducing strategies. To take uncertainties into account the criteria of robustness and flexibility are advocated as well. This paper discusses the added value of robustness as additional decision criterion compared to single-value flood risk only. We do so by quantifying flood risk and system robustness for alternative system configurations of the Ijssel River valley in the Netherlands. We found that robustness analysis has added value in three respects: (1) it does not require assumptions on current and future flood probabilities, since flood consequences are shown as a function of discharge, (2) it shows the sensitivity of the system to varying discharges and (3) it supports a discussion on the acceptability of flood damage. We conclude that robustness analysis is a valuable addition to flood risk analysis in support of long-term decision-making on flood risk management
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2913-2945
JournalNatural hazards and earth systems sciences discussions
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-303429
  • IR-91185


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