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Doctoral Thesis Presentation

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Anna Serra Llobet

on 18 March 2011

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Transcript of Doctoral Thesis Presentation

Floods, wetlands and climate change in the Mediterraneasn coast of Spain Turning hazards into resources? Universitat Autònoma
de Barcelona Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals Doctoral Thesis by
Anna Serra Llobet

Directed by
David Saurí Pujol

Bellaterra, 18 March 2011 1. Introduction 2. Historical
Background 3. Case study 1.
The Tous Dam Collapse, 1982 4. &5. Case study 2.
Flood risk assessment and risk perception in the Costa Brava 6. Conclusion Flood management and wetlands protection in Europe and the US:
a historical perspective Assessing the role of vertical and horizontal communication in disaster risk rediction learning and planning:
The case of the Spanish Tous Dam collapse, 1982 Floods wetlands and global environmental change: threats or opportunnities? A case study in the Northern Costa Brava, Spain Floods, climate change and risk perception in flood prone lands of the Costa Brava, Spain Universitat Autònoma
de Barcelona Objectives Introduction Objectives Study area Methodology Results Conclusions Introduction Objectives Study area Methodology Results Conclusions Introduction Objectives Study area Methodology Results Conclusions Key Findings Remarks Future research Why floods?
Why climate change?
Why wetlands? To develop an analysis of the flood risk that takes into account not only the negative but also the beneficial effects of floods in the Mediterranean coast of Spain. What has been the relationship between changes in the social-ecological systems and changes in flood management strategies in Western countries (the USA and Europe)?

How have these changes affected current flood risk regimes and flood risk policy in Spain? How have cross-scale interactions influenced the integration of interconnected elements in flood management in Spain? And what has been the role of risk perception and risk communication in this process?

Are all people living in coastal Mediterranean areas such as the Costa Brava at risk of flooding? Which is their perception of risk? And what adaptive capacities can be developed in the area in order to increase the resilience (reducing risk and increasing safety) of the social-ecological system of the Costa Brava? 1. To understand how and why flood management strategies evolved in Western countries over the last centuries.

2. To understand current flood policy in Spain.

3. To assess the importance of risk perception and risk communication in the whole cycle of flood risk management.

4. To study the evolution of land use and land cover in flood prone lands of the Costa Brava during the second half of the 20th century.

5. To develop a flood risk analysis that accounts for the interconnections of the socio-environmental system though the study of risk perception. Theoretical framework From disasters to risk: the emergence of a new paradigm Approaches for the analysis of risk:

Before the 1970s: Classical approach (Engineering)
After the 1970s: Alternative integrated approach (Geography: human ecology, political economy, political ecology, ...) Introduction Views of nature and floods (Glacken, 1967):

Theological view: floods as Acts of God
Deterministic view: floods as unavoidable forces of nature
Anthropocentric view: human societies influence on environmental rythms. . 2 interpretations: Key events How do risk perception and communication among different socio-economic groups, and vertical communication and framing by authorities affect and how are they now affected by strategies for disaster risk reduction?

Have past disasters induced learning among planners and communities in a way that it resulted in improved planning, communication, preparation, and subsequent disaster risk reduction? 1 Communication process before, during and after Tous Dam collapse: a ‘crisis of credibility’ in risk communication 2 The intertwining of hydrometeorological factors with human causes 3 Long term learning after the Tous disaster: three decades developing DRR strategies Meteorological and hydrological aspects of the ‘gota fría’

Human factors leading to the disaster:
physical vulnerability: urbanisation
social vulnerability:
- political transition after 40 years of Franco's dictatorship
- civil protection founded in 1982 (no emergency plans, no risk maps,...)
risk perception: undue confidence in hydrauic infrastructures
risk communication: lack of communication between different agents, information transfer and crisis of credivility. 1 Decline of wetland ecosystems in the Costa Brava (1957-2003) 15 face-to-face and telephone interviews

with relevant stakeholders and agents either affected or involved in flood management strategies

literature and media review

3 days field trip to the area Changes in land use and land cover between 1957 and 2003 Dynamics of land use and land cover between 1957 and 2003 Main land uses and land covers in 1957 and 2003 Evolution of wetlands from 1957 Current LULC (2003) in former wetland areas (1957) Origin of current wetlands (2003) Former LULC (1957) in current wetland areas (2003) The extent of urban land use from 1957 to 2003 and the reduction in the area of wetlands in the Empordà floodplain (Spain) over the last 300 years (1700s-1957-2003) Urban areas in 2003 located in flood prone zones with a 500-year return period. Land uses (in percentage) located in flood prone areas Flood risk assessment
in the Costa Brava Risk perception
(information, educationa and mass media)
Surveys and interviews with residents,
and press review Human vulnerability
(physical and social vulnerability)
Literature review, and interviews with local staff Assessment of risk perception

Surveys and interviews in Tossa de Mar

Impact of mass-media in climate change and flood risk perception Tossa de Mar residents’ preferences for different management measures Individual measures used to cope with floods Housing type Tossa de Mar residents’ assessment of flood management practices (in percentage) Tossa de Mar residents’ perception of vulnerability to flooding (in percentage) Evolution of the annual number of news items regarding climate change published in each newspaper analysed (El País, La Vanguardia, El Periódico and L’Avui) for the period 1990-2007 Evolution of the total annual number of news items regarding climate change published between 1990-2007. Number of news related with climate change published in each newspaper analysed for the period 1990-2007 Answers to the question ‘Will climate change affect the Costa Brava?’ The extent of urban land use and land cover in the Costa Brava (1957-2003). (Source: Martí, 2005) (a) Risk levels in the Costa Brava according to Civil Protection of Catalonia, (b) municipalities t required to have a local flood emergency plan (Source: adapted from INUNCAT, 2006), and (c) municipalities with local flood emergency plan implemented. Key tools and actors involved in flood management This chapter presents an assessment of flood risk in the Costa Brava that takes into account the risk perception by residents. Flooding is the most common environmental hazard worldwide, after disease and transport accidents.

Many industrialized countries – which have invested heavily in flood defence end emergency measures – suffer large economic losses.

Floods are the natural hazard that produce
most damages in the North-western Mediterranean countries.

According to IPCC AR4 floods will become
substantially worse with climate change. According to some current models used by climate experts, a hypothetical average global warming of 1ºC is projected to have the following effects in the Mediterranean:
A warming ranging from 0.7ºC to 1.6ºC, depending on the area
Changes in rainfall
An increase in the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme meteorological events

Multiple impacts:
The sea: The risk of a rice in the Mediterranean sea level
Rainfall pattern: the increase in the frequency of floods
Biodiversity and marine and terrestrial ecosystems: wetlands are one of the most threatened ecosystems Wetlands are a prominent feature of Mediterranean coastal systems.

Wetlands are one of the most threatened ecosystems to the impacts of climate change (due to sea level rise and storms).

However, for coastal wetlands floods need not to be considered necessarily a hazard.

In Mediterranean countries floods are maybe also regarded as normal feature of the seasonal cycle, and thus critical for some ecosystems. Giza Pyramids - circa 1920, before building the High Dam, the Nile flood Water used to reach the Giza Plateau Moltes gràcies! in The Mediterranean... 1. Mediterranean weather: intense localised thunderstorm activity.
2. Montainous areas: steep slopes close to the coastline.
3. Densely populated territories.
developed countries... worldwide... climate change
in The Mediterranean... According to IPCC AR4 it will get substantially worse with climate change. Flash floods in
the Mediterranean 'Queensland officials have said the price of rebuilding homes, businesses and infrastructure, coupled with economic losses, could be as high as A$5bn (£3.2bn). International



Local Literature review 15 interviews with key actors
Literature and press review 95 surveys with residents of flood prone areas
Press review (4 Regional newspapers from 1990-2007) Historical background case study 1.Tous dam collapse, 1982 case study 2. The costa Brava 1st Period
The Antiquity and Middle Ages (3500ac-15th century) USA Europe 4th period 3rd period3rd 2nd period 1st period
The Reflexive Modernity The Industrial Modernity The Traditional Modernity The Antiquity and Middle Ages 2nd Period
The Traditional Modernity (16th century-18th century) USA Europe
After the Industrial revolution... (18th century-1930s) USA Europe 3rd Period
The Industrial Modernity (1940s-1970s) USA Europe Disaster management cycle Natural resources Flood management Disaster relief 4th Period
The Reflexive Modernity (1970s-present) Noblemen huntin
Stag hunting, 14th century (Illustration in Des Deduitz de la Chasse des Bestes Sauvaiges, by Gaston Phoebus) Painting of Crusaders Entering Constantinople in 1204 (Delacroix, 1840) (The Learning Company, Inc., 1997) Emperor Justinian of Constantinople Discovery of the Mississippi
(William H. Powell, 1853) Artist interpretation of irrigating fields
(Image source of the Food Museum, 2005) The Hohokam irrigation canals
(Image source of the Food Museum, 2005) Hernando de Soto The Great Flood of 1927 (Gil Cohen) New Orleans Antique Wall Map Adam Smith Leonardo da Vinci Emer de Vattel Figures On A Country Road Along A Waterway, A Windmill In The Distance (Willem Roelofs) The Ratification of the Treaty of Munster, Gerard Ter Borch (1648) Willem Bilderdijk Fenders from Trelleborg Bakker were supplied to one of the world’s largest flood prevention projects in the Netherlands.
Alexander von Humboldt The Ruins of Lisbon. Survivors lived in tents on the outskirts of the city after the earthquake, as shown in this fanciful 1755 German engraving. 1755 copper engraving showing Lisbon in flames and a tsunami overwhelming the ships in the harbor. Clara Burton Colonel Alexander Macomb Chief of Engineers John Muir John Perkins Marsh The Debate Over Flood Protection in Ohio’s Miami Valley Illustrated Through Political Cartoons

Following the Dayton flood of 1913, a vigorous movement for flood protection developed in the Miami Valley region. The storm surge in the North Sea flood of 1953 and the associated flood caused a major natural disaster which affected the coastlines of the Netherlands, England, Belgium, Germany and Denmark on the night of 31 January – 1 February 1953 The Eder Dam, Germany, which was successfully breached in the Dambusters raid of May 1943 during WWII. Water was still pouring through the day after the raid. (Imagestate Media, 2010) Franklin Delano Roosevelt Gilbert F. White Shell of a house destroyed by the flood of 1951 (Life, 2010) The Blue Marble The European Union The End of the Cold War Czech floods
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 13: People pass by newly-built barricades along the bank of the Vltava (Moldau) River August 13, 2002 in central Prague, Czech Republic, as officials expected the worst flooding in over a century in the city later in the day. Much of the country has been inundated by flooding that has also hit Germany, Austria and other parts of Europe and that in the last two weeks has left at least 70 people dead. The Earth Day Floods as hazard or as resources? Henry Durant USA Europe Natural resources Flood management Disaster relief Natural resources Flood management Disaster relief New Orleans, 2005
(Agua, rios y gente, 2010) The Katrina Hurricane, 2005
(Agua, rios y gente, 2010) The Katrina Hurricane, 2005 Floods in central Europe, 2002 Past Present Ratio (in percentage) between maximum daily precipitation and mean annual precipitation (period 1940/41-1995/96) (Source: EEA, 2001) (USA vs. Europe)



(The Costa Brava) Analysis of risk Conventional Alternative
Positive aspects of nature exploitation

Negative aspects of nature exploitation Foods regarded as a hazard and need to be 'dominated' thought tecnology

Floods as resource: important environmental benefits American Red Cross Red Cross Paris, Flood of 1912 Industrial Revolution Yosemite National Park The erradication of malaria fosters wetlands protection Floods in Central Europe, 2002
(Live, 2002) One of the most at risk in Europe to the impacts of climate change Flood management strategies must capture this dicotomy
-as hazards and as a resources-
by looking at the dynamics between social and ecological systems.
According to this approach, the crucial challange regarding floods is how to take advantage of their beneficial effects, while avoiding the material looses they cause.

To explore the nature-society relationship in different periods of the history and how it has affected flood management strategies in the US and Europe. Aim The Great Floods Theological view = Floods as Acts of God

Roman times large hydraulic infrastructures were built in Europe for water supply and flood control.
During Middle Ages drainage techniques (in wetlands areas) allowed population to expand agricultural land. Early explorers brought with them the technology of windmills, dikes a, dams, etc, as well as disaseases linked to wetlands ecosystems such as malaria. The contact with Europeans settlers had trascendental repercussions on America water systems development and the evolution of their wetlands. Deterministic view = Floods as unavoidable forces of nature

Early Modern European history has been characterized for important water management and flood control New ideas regarding to disaster relief appeared in the 18th century with Emer de Vattel who argued that 'famine or other calamities triggered a natural law duty for other states to provide assistance'. the 'Wealth of Nations' brought the modern idea that material world was infinite to store of resouces that could be exploited for the benefit of humankind. Modernity came with the idea to domesticate nature's water and the European powers transferred these ideas of 'control' over the nature to their colonies in the US. During the Industrial Revolution science advances and new technologies allowed the construction of bigger infrastructures to facilitate supply for the growing population and the demand from the expansion of the agriculture. Land use management associated to changes in rivers and streams flows that lead to an increase of the number of catastrophic floods. The institutionalization of disaster relief has its origins in the foundation of the Red Cross in 1863. Federal Government and the Corps were involved in flood control in 1924.

In 1849 a Swamp Land Act prompted wetlands drainage and reclamation for settlements and developents. In 1881 the America Red Cross was fouded by Clara Burton in Washington D.C.. Anthropocentric view: the idea of human impact on nature gained momentum.

The foundation of National Parks protected inderectly many floodplains. In a period governed by the engineering view in natural hazards domain, Gilbert F. White questioned the warrant of large structural measures such as dikes or dams and infiltrated a big range of domains in the study of floods, including sociology of risk and environmental assessment. 1966 A Unified National Program for Managing Flood Looses
1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
1968 National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Big disasters such as the 1953 flood in the Netherlands and the Vajon dam collapse in 1963 stressed the idea of residual risk associated to hydraulic infrastructures. 2) From local to global

The creation of the UN (1945) and the Council of Europe (1949), predecessor of the EU (1993), fostered a gradual inclusion of ecological values into water policy.

2000 Water Framework Directive
2007 Flood Directive 3) From civil defence to civil protection (or emergency management)

After the Cold War, the focuse moved from civil defence to civil protection, including natural disasters. 1) From desease to 'ecosystem services'

the emergence of new concepts such as biodiversity or ecosystems
helped to create a new vision of the nature-society relationship more integrated and interconnected. However, disasters such as the 2002 Floods in Central Europe and the Hurricane Katrina in 2005 have shown that tecnical solutions for flood control have also limited effects. Flood management strategies have evolved over time, moving from flood defense to flood control, and more recently from flood damage reduction to flood risk management.

These changes have had important effects on hydrological cycles and freshwater habitats. Rivers have been disconnected from their floodplains and wetlands (important buffer zones during flood events).

Altered hydrological regimes due to global climate change could further exacerbate impacts coming from urban sprawl, land use change and tourism, deteriorating wetland.

Cultural perceptions and values of natural resources have changed over centuries. Thanks to the (re)emergence of ecosytem functions and ecosystem services several values already recognised in the Antiquity are now part again of the political agenda. The absence of a clear federal agency in emergency managemet promted the creation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979, with the intention of consolidating mitigation strategies with emergency management preparedness and response activities into this federal agency. In 1982 the collapse of the Tous Dam caused one of the most important socio-natural disasters in Spain of the 20th century.

This study focuses on the role of vertical and horizontal communication in disaster risk reduction, and on the analysis of long-term learning.

-1980s: disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies in Spain focused on improving preparedness in order to reduce short-term risks. • The collapse of the Tous Dam in 1982 triggered a paradigm change in the way disaster risks were perceived and managed in Spain at multiple levels of governance, moving from disaster response to risk management

•This study has identified three main stages in the evolution of disaster risk reduction planning in Spain, showing a progressive shift towards a more integrated and preventative approach (as seen before).

•In Spain, risk management, ecological restoration and climate are still largely perceived as separated domains requiring different management approaches and procedures, rather than as an integrated and inseparable part of a common risk governance process, as international and European initiatives require.

•The study of the collapse of the Tous Dam has also shown the crucial role of risk communication and risk perception in flood management strategies.

-1990s: Disaster management in the 1990s was strongly influenced by international initiatives (e.g. the UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction), which emphasized the contextualization of risk and the importance in long-term DRR measures such as land use planning.
-2000s: The European Water Framework Directive (2000) and, more recently, the Flood Directive (2007) are exerting a strong influence on the development of a new Spanish flood policy that focuses on preventive measures and integrates, for the first time, ecological aspects in flood management strategies such as river restoration.
•Despite these advancements, the process of developing an effective disaster management system is far from complete and many issues –mainly related to dealing with different domains of risk action, introducing concepts of ecological resilience and climate change, and promoting public awareness and effective participation- still remain unsolved. Vulnemed Project IHDP initiative on
Integrated Risk Governance Wetlands are one of the most threatened ecosystems to the impacts of climate change.

Coastal wetlands are projected to be negatively affected by sea-level rise especially where they are constrained on their landward side, and lack sediment supply.

Approximately 20 percent of existing coastal wetlands may disappear by 2080 because of the expansion of the sea.

However, for coastal wetlands (as well as for other ecosystems) floods need not to be considered necessarily a hazard. Rather, they could be seen as an important natural process contributing to groundwater recharge, to the provision of sediment loads to the coastal zone, and, more generally, to the equilibrium between fresh and salt water that, among other factors, make this transition areas so ecologically productive.

In Mediterranian countries floods are also regarded as normal feature of the seasonal cycle, and critical for some ecosystems.
Floods, climate change and wetlands The crucial challenge regarding floods is how to take advantage of their beneficial effects, while avoiding the material losses they cause. Aim Study area &Methodology 15 face-to-face and telephone interviews

with relevant stakeholders and agents either affected or involved in flood management strategies

literature and media review

3 days field trip to the area GIS risk communication process and long-term learning disasters natural hazard magnitude intensity exposure resistance resilience vulnerability The Empordà wetlands Results Methodology Marshes The 'closes' Rice crops Tossa de Mar The Costa Brava Methodology Results Most residents are unaware or underestimate the risks of living in a flood-prone area (foreigners, multistory buildings).

The high number of news published in the regional press reflect a growing sensitivity to flood events and climate change.

Residents of Tossa de Mar are sceptical as to whether climate change is the primary cause of flooding. Flood disasters are generally attributed to local (mis)management practices.

Undue confidence in hydraulic infrastructures has resulted in some people abrogating any responsibility for taking individual actions.

However, the use of individual compensatory mechanisms such as insurance have enhanced public safety. Surveys and Press review The exposure to the risk of flooding has increased in the Costa Brava.

However, this trend has been attenuated by a larger social capacity to absorb losses and by the greater effectiveness of flood management measures.

Flood management strategies should emphasize the individual level (risk perception and risk communication). Are people living in the Costa Brava growing more vulnerable to the risk of floods? International: Over centuries flood management strategies have captured differently the dichotomy of floods as hazards and as resources.

EU: Europe has moved towards a EU-wide strategy for sustainable flood management based on prevention (restoration of floodplains and wetlands and the adaptation to climate change)

Spain: The collapse of the Tous Dam triggered a paradigm change in the way disaster risks were perceived and managed. However, this approach is far from completion.

The Costa Brava: Exposure to the risk of flooding has increased in the Costa Brava, as it has as on the whole Mediterranean coast of Spain, but this trend has been attenuated by a larger social capacity to absorb losses and by greater effectiveness of flood management measures. However, flood management strategies should now emphasize the individual level (Risk perception and risk communication). 1st step (to turn floods into resources): Policy adjustments: Policy makers have to integrate the 3 spheres in the management of floods at all levels of governance.

2nd step: Widespread public awareness campaign about DRR to creat informed risk takers (both risk managers and people exposed) Identification of factors in local governments and private households in the Costa Brava most important in prompting precautionary action to avoid flood damage.

People’s perception and their own assessment of their adaptive and proactive capacities, integrating the three spheres mentioned. 'Yes, we can',
but only through a new management philosophy that accepts the axiom of
´living with floods´. ‘Can we turn hazards into resources?’ ‘Do we want to turn hazards into resources?'
‘The success of this initiatives will depend largely on the political will of national, regional and local governments’. flood risk assessment (physical exposure)

risk perception analysis (social vulnerability and the influence of mass-media in flood and climate change) 120 m3
4m flood wave
15,000 m3/s
300 km2
200,000 people
100,000 evacuated
30 deaths
330 millions euros
in economic losses Timeline Flood management Natural resources Disaster relief Flood prevention Flood control F. damage
reduction Flood risk management Flood management Natural resources Disaster relief F. damage
reduction Flood control Flood prevention Flood risk management Flood risk management Socio-ecological systems Former crops, 1957 Empuriabrava, 2003 biodiversity
groundwater recharge
provision of sediment loads to the coastal zone
equilibrium between fresh and salt water
productivity Flooding is an important natural process
contributing to:
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