Barcelona Field Studies Centre

The Rhine Floods 1995: Flood Management Evaluation

Flood Management Evaluation

Techniques Advantages Disadvantages

Groups for

Groups against
Hard Engineering
Dams and reservoirs Multi-purpose and non-polluting Speed up river flow downstream and increase the flood risk Expensive Leisure users Environmentalists
Flood relief channel Greatly reduces the flood risk Very expensive.
May encourage a false sense of security
Those living downstream where the flood risk is decreased People who own land affected by the development
Making course straighter and shorter Relatively cheap Needs to be maintained Industry benefits from reduced transport costs Environmentalists: damages channel and bank ecosystems
Strengthening levées Existing land uses can be maintained Need maintenance. Not sustainable in the long term Existing land users Those living downstream where the flood risk is increased
Flood retention basins Store water at times of flood risk Requires international co-operation. Land use restricted to recreational, pasture or forestry Those living downstream where the flood risk is decreased Those people affected by the occasional flooding e.g. hunters
Flood proofing Reduces damage May create a false sense of security People who can remain at their site People with businesses located on the floodplain where damage cannot be reduced e.g. market gardening
Soft Engineering
Afforestation Trees delay runoff and reduce the amount of water reaching the river Forests generate little income Conservationists Farmers who have to convert their land to woodland
Floodplain land use zoning Low cost for undeveloped areas of floodplain. Some industrial  land users require a floodplain location Existing floodplain damages are not reduced. Industry may locate elsewhere Conservationists

Leisure users

Local council, since the zoned land generates few jobs or tax income
Room for the river Based on the idea that a change in one part of the river system will cause knock-on effects downstream. Sustainable This solution would require a great degree of co-operation among the authorities in the countries through which the Rhine and its tributaries flow. Very expensive. Slow to take effect Conservationists: flood prevention and ecosystem conservation given equal consideration Farmers who lose their land