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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Sep 2018

Research article | 19 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Low-hanging fruits in large-scale fluvial landscaping measures: trade-offs between flood hazard, costs, stakeholders and biodiversity

Menno W. Straatsma1, Jan M. Fliervoet2, Johan A. H. Kabout3, Fedor Baart4, and Maarten G. Kleinhans1 Menno W. Straatsma et al.
  • 1Faculty of Geosciences, Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, PO Box 80115, 3508 TC, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 2Faculty of Science, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, Radboud University, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • 3Arcadis Nederland B.V., Department Rivers, Coast and Sea, PO Box 220, 3800 AE Amersfoort, The Netherlands
  • 4Deltares, Department Marine and Coastal Systems, PO Box 177, 2600 MH Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract. Adapting densely populated deltas to the combined impacts of climate change and socioeconomic developments presents a major challenge for their sustainable development in the 21st century. Decisions for the adaptations require an overview of cost and benefits and the number of stakeholders involved, which can be used in stakeholder discussions. Therefore, we investigated the balance between multi-faceted costs and benefits of common landscaping measures to compensate for changes in discharge and sea level rise on the basis of relevant, but inexhaustive, quantitative variables for physical, ecological and societal costs and benefits. We modelled the largest delta distributary of the Rhine River with adaptation scenarios driven by (1) the choice of seven measures, (2) the areas owned by the two largest stakeholders (LS) versus all stakeholders (AS), and (3) the ecological or hydraulic design principle. We evaluated measures by their efficiency in flood hazard reduction, potential biodiversity, number of stakeholders as a proxy to governance complexity, and measure implementation cost. We found that only floodplain lowering over the whole study area can offset the altered hydrodynamic boundary conditions; for all other measures, additional dike raising is required. LS areas comprise low hanging fruits for water level lowering due to the governance simplicity and hydraulic efficiency. Measures implemented in LS areas are 3 to 74% more efficient than in AS areas. Clear trade-offs were revealed between evaluation parameters, but no single measure represented the optimal combination on all aspects. The multidimensional evaluation space provides a frame for the co-creation of adaptation paths for climate-proofing deltas.

Menno W. Straatsma et al.
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Menno W. Straatsma et al.
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Short summary
Climate adaptation of deltas is a hot topic given their high population density. We found that measures within the embanked floodplains of the Rhine delta cannot compensate for plausible increases in river discharge and sea level rise, except large-scale floodplain lowering. Measures located in state-owned areas are relatively effective, which would simplify decision making. Natural management of the land greatly improves biodiversity, while flood safety effects were limited.
Climate adaptation of deltas is a hot topic given their high population density. We found that...