Articles | Volume 16, issue 4
Review article
26 Apr 2016
Review article |  | 26 Apr 2016

Multi-criteria decision-making for flood risk management: a survey of the current state of the art

Mariana Madruga de Brito and Mariele Evers

Abstract. This paper provides a review of multi-criteria decision-making  (MCDM) applications to flood risk management, seeking to highlight trends and identify research gaps. A total of 128 peer-reviewed papers published from 1995 to June 2015 were systematically analysed. Results showed that the number of flood MCDM publications has exponentially grown during this period, with over 82 % of all papers published since 2009. A wide range of applications were identified, with most papers focusing on ranking alternatives for flood mitigation, followed by risk, hazard, and vulnerability assessment. The analytical hierarchy process (AHP) was the most popular method, followed by Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution (TOPSIS), and Simple Additive Weighting (SAW). Although there is greater interest in MCDM, uncertainty analysis remains an issue and was seldom applied in flood-related studies. In addition, participation of multiple stakeholders has been generally fragmented, focusing on particular stages of the decision-making process, especially on the definition of criteria weights. Therefore, addressing the uncertainties around stakeholders' judgments and endorsing an active participation in all steps of the decision-making process should be explored in future applications. This could help to increase the quality of decisions and the implementation of chosen measures.

Short summary
This study presents a systematic review of 128 papers that apply multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) tools to flood problems, aiming to provide an overall picture of what has motivated researchers in 37 different countries over the past 2 decades. A wide range of applications were identified, highlighting the utility of MCDM as a decision support tool in all stages of the flood management process.
Final-revised paper