Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-384
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
03 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Going beyond the Flood Insurance Rate Map: insights from flood hazard map co-production
Adam Luke1, Brett F. Sanders1,2, Kristen Goodrich3, David L. Feldman2, Danielle Boudreau4, Ana Eguiarte4, Kimberly Serrano5, Abigail Reyes5, Jochen E. Schubert1, Amir AghaKouchak1, Victoria Basolo2, and Richard A. Matthew2 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
2Department of Urban Planning and Public Policy, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
3School of Social Ecology,University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
4Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Imperial Beach, CA, USA
5Sustainability Initiative, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
Abstract. Flood hazard mapping in the United States (US) is deeply tied to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Consequently, publicly available flood maps provide essential information for insurance purposes, but do not necessarily provide relevant information for non-insurance aspects of flood risk management (FRM) such as public education and emergency planning. Recent calls for flood hazard maps that support a wider variety of FRM tasks highlight the need to deepen our understanding about the factors that make flood maps useful and understandable for local end-users. In this study, social scientists and engineers explore opportunities for improving the utility and relevance of flood hazard maps through the co-production of maps responsive to end-users' FRM needs. Specifically, two-dimensional flood modeling produced a set of baseline hazard maps for stakeholders of the Tijuana River Valley, US, and Los Laureles Canyon in Tijuana, Mexico. Focus groups with natural resource managers, city planners, emergency managers, academia, non-profit, and community leaders refined the baseline hazard maps by triggering additional modeling scenarios and map revisions. Several important end-user preferences emerged, such as (1) legends that frame flood intensity both qualitatively and quantitatively, and (2) flood scenario descriptions that report flood magnitude in terms of rainfall, streamflow, and its relation to an historic event. Regarding desired hazard map content, end-users' requests revealed general consistency with mapping needs reported in European studies and guidelines published in Australia. However, requested map content that is not commonly produced included: (1) standing water depths following the flood, (2) the erosive potential of flowing water, and (3) pluvial flood hazards, or flooding caused directly by rainfall. We conclude that the relevance and utility of commonly produced flood hazard maps can be most improved by illustrating pluvial flood hazards and by using concrete reference points to describe flooding scenarios rather than exceedance probabilities or frequencies.

Citation: Luke, A., Sanders, B. F., Goodrich, K., Feldman, D. L., Boudreau, D., Eguiarte, A., Serrano, K., Reyes, A., Schubert, J. E., AghaKouchak, A., Basolo, V., and Matthew, R. A.: Going beyond the Flood Insurance Rate Map: insights from flood hazard map co-production, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-384, in review, 2017.
Adam Luke et al.
Adam Luke et al.

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Short summary
In this study, engineers and social scientists explore opportunities for improving the utility of flood hazard maps through focus groups with end-users. Focus groups revealed that end-users preferred legends that describe flood intensity both quantitatively and with qualitative reference points, as well as flood scenario descriptions that describe the magnitude (rather than frequency) of the flood. Illustrations of pluvial flooding, or flooding caused directly by rainfall, were highly desired.
In this study, engineers and social scientists explore opportunities for improving the utility...
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