Investing in ‘green infrastructure’ like restoring floodplains or wetlands to bolster flood prevention not only generates more environmental and socio-economic benefits, especially in the long term, but also lowers the amount of financial investment needed to defend against damaging floods.
This is the conclusion of a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report published yesterday, which assesses the green options available in building climate resilience in wake of the increased risk posed by river flooding.
The EEA report ‘Green infrastructure and flood management — promoting cost-efficient flood risk reduction via green infrastructure solutions,’ outlines the challenges and opportunities posed by using more environmentally friendly options to bolster defenses against river flooding.
The report looks specifically at six case studies on the Elbe (Germany), the Rhône (France), the Scheldt (Belgium) and the Vistula (Poland) river basins, and points to the potential, in terms of suitable space, for restoring floodplains alongside them.
The way ahead
The report says that more needs to be done to improve knowledge, experience and capacity in adapting building regulations to include nature-based solutions for flood defenses in many EU Member States.
It also notes that much better coordination on flood management plans is required between upstream and downstream areas and between countries that share rivers to enhance decision-making and implementation of green infrastructure for flood risk management.