Articles | Volume 8, issue 2
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 8, 311–322, 2008
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 8, 311–322, 2008

  10 Apr 2008

10 Apr 2008

Assessing flood risk for a rural detention area

S. Förster1, B. Kuhlmann2, K.-E. Lindenschmidt3, and A. Bronstert1 S. Förster et al.
  • 1University of Potsdam, Department of Geo-ecology, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24–25, 14476 Golm, Germany
  • 2Justus Liebig University of Gießen, Institute for Farm Management, Senckenbergstraße 3, 35390 Gießen, Germany
  • 3GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Engineering Hydrology Section, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. Flood detention areas serve the primary purpose of controlled water storage during large flood events in order to decrease the flood risk downstream along the river. These areas are often used for agricultural production. While various damage estimation methods exist for urban areas, there are only a few, most often simpler approaches for loss estimation in rural areas. The loss assessment can provide an estimate of the financial provisions required for the farmers' compensation (e.g., in the context of cost-benefit analyses of detention measures).

Flood risk is a combination of potential damage and probability of flooding. Losses in agricultural areas exhibit a strong seasonal pattern, and the flooding probability also has a seasonal variation. In the present study, flood risk is assessed for a planned detention area alongside the Elbe River in Germany based on two loss and probability estimation approaches of different time frames, namely a monthly and an annual approach. The results show that the overall potential damage in the proposed detention area amounts to approximately 40 000 € a−1, with approximately equal losses for each of the main land uses, agriculture and road infrastructure. A sensitivity analysis showed that the probability of flooding (i.e., the frequency of operation of the detention area) has the largest impact on the overall flood risk.