Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-51
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-51

  22 Feb 2021

22 Feb 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

A comparative flood damage and risk impact assessment of land use changes

Karen Gabriels1, Patrick Willems1, and Jos Van Orshoven2 Karen Gabriels et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3001, Belgium
  • 2Department of Civil Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3001, Belgium

Abstract. Sustainable flood risk management encompasses the implementation of nature-based solutions to mitigate flood risk. These measures include the establishment of land use types with a high (e.g. forest patches) or low (e.g. sealed surfaces) water retention and infiltration capacity at strategic locations in the catchment. This paper presents an approach for assessing the relative impact of such land use changes on economic flood damages and associated risk. This spatially explicit approach integrates a reference situation, a flood damage model and a rainfall-runoff model, considering runoff re-infiltration and propagation, to determine relative flood risk mitigation or increment related to the implementation of land use change scenarios. The applicability of the framework is illustrated for a 4800 ha undulating catchment in the region of Flanders, Belgium by assessing afforestation of 187.5 ha (3.9 %), located mainly in the valleys, and sealing of 187.5 ha, situated mainly at higher elevations. These scenarios result in a risk reduction of 57 % (100 856 €) for the afforestation scenario and a risk increment of < 1 % (535 €) for the sealing scenario.

Karen Gabriels et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-51', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Jul 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-51', Anonymous Referee #2, 01 Sep 2021

Karen Gabriels et al.

Karen Gabriels et al.

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Short summary
As land use influences hydrological processes (e.g. forests have a high water retention and infiltration capacity), it also impacts floods downstream in the river system. This paper demonstrates an approach quantifying the impact of land use changes on economic flood damages: damages in an initial situation are quantified and compared to damages of simulated floods associated with a land use change scenario. This approach can be used as an explorative tool in sustainable flood risk management.
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