08 Jul 2024
 | 08 Jul 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Flood exposure of environmental assets

Gabriele Bertoli, Chiara Arrighi, and Enrica Caporali

Abstract. Environmental assets provide important benefits to society and support the equilibrium of natural processes. They can be affected by floods, nevertheless, flood risk analyses usually neglect environmental areas due to (i) a lack of agreement on what should be considered as an environmental asset, (ii) a poor understanding of environmental values, and (iii) the absence of damage models. The aim of this work is to advance the understanding of environmental exposure to floods by first identifying asset typologies that could be considered in flood risk analyses and second, by introducing a method, named EnvXflood, to estimate flood exposure of environmental assets. The method is structured around three levels of detail requiring increasing information, from a fast and parsimonious analysis suitable for regional assessment to a detailed ecosystem-service-based site analysis. Exposure focuses on the social and environmental value of the assets. Social values were investigated by means of a survey. The method was tested on three case studies in Italy (Tuscany region, Chiana, and Orcia basins). The Ecosystem Services weighting highlights the leading importance of the biodiversity-supporting service. The results of the analyses show that the environmental assets related to water, such as rivers, lakes, and wetlands, are the assets most exposed to floods. Notwithstanding, commonly they are not considered as exposed assets in the usual river management practices. Further research should aim at consolidating the asset typologies to be included in environmental exposure analysis and their social and ecological value, moving towards a coherent understanding of environmental flood impacts.

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Gabriele Bertoli, Chiara Arrighi, and Enrica Caporali

Status: open (until 19 Aug 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2024-105', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Jul 2024 reply
Gabriele Bertoli, Chiara Arrighi, and Enrica Caporali
Gabriele Bertoli, Chiara Arrighi, and Enrica Caporali


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Short summary
Environmental assets are crucial to sustain and fulfil life on Earth through ecosystem services. Assessing their flood risk is thus seminal, besides required by several norms. Even though, this field is not yet sufficiently developed. We explored the exposure component of the flood risk, and developed an evaluating methodology based on the ecosystem services provided by the environmental assets, to discern assets and areas more important than others with metrics suitable to large scale studies.