Regional prioritisation of flood risk in mountainous areas
- 1UNESCO-IHE, P.O. Box 3015, 2601DA Delft, the Netherlands
- 2Deltares, P.O. Box 177, 2600MH Delft, the Netherlands
- 3Universidad Javeriana, KR 7 No 40-62, Bogotá, Colombia
- 4School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
Abstract. In this paper a method is proposed to identify mountainous watersheds with the highest flood risk at the regional level. Through this, the watersheds to be subjected to more detailed risk studies can be prioritised in order to establish appropriate flood risk management strategies. The prioritisation is carried out through an index composed of a qualitative indicator of vulnerability and a qualitative flash flood/debris flow susceptibility indicator. At the regional level, vulnerability was assessed on the basis of a principal component analysis carried out with variables recognised in literature to contribute to vulnerability, using watersheds as the unit of analysis. The area exposed was obtained from a simplified flood extent analysis at the regional level, which provided a mask where vulnerability variables were extracted. The vulnerability indicator obtained from the principal component analysis was combined with an existing susceptibility indicator, thus providing an index that allows the watersheds to be prioritised in support of flood risk management at regional level. Results show that the components of vulnerability can be expressed in terms of three constituent indicators: (i) socio-economic fragility, which is composed of demography and lack of well-being; (ii) lack of resilience and coping capacity, which is composed of lack of education, lack of preparedness and response capacity, lack of rescue capacity, cohesiveness of the community; and (iii) physical exposure, which is composed of exposed infrastructure and exposed population. A sensitivity analysis shows that the classification of vulnerability is robust for watersheds with low and high values of the vulnerability indicator, while some watersheds with intermediate values of the indicator are sensitive to shifting between medium and high vulnerability.