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J Environ Manage. 2019 Jun 1;239:244-254. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.03.036. Epub 2019 Mar 20.

Assessing the Co-Benefits of green-blue-grey infrastructure for sustainable urban flood risk management.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Engineering and Water Technology, IHE-Delft, the Netherlands. Electronic address: a.alves@un-ihe.org.
2
Department of Water Engineering, IHE-Delft, the Netherlands.
3
Centre for Water Systems, College of Engineering, University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Department of Water Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands.
4
Department of Environmental Engineering and Water Technology, IHE-Delft, the Netherlands.

Abstract

Green-blue infrastructures in urban spaces offer several co-benefits besides flood risk reduction, such as water savings, energy savings due to less cooling usage, air quality improvement and carbon sequestration. Traditionally, these co-benefits were not included in decision making processes for flood risk management. In this work we present a method to include the monetary analysis of these co-benefits into a cost-benefits analysis of flood risk mitigation measures. This approach was applied to a case study, comparing costs and benefits with and without co-benefits. Different intervention strategies were considered, using green, blue and grey measures and combinations of them. The results obtained illustrate the importance of assessing co-benefits when identifying best adaptation strategies to improve urban flood risk management. Otherwise green infrastructure is likely to appear less efficient than more conventional grey infrastructure. Moreover, a mix of green, blue and grey infrastructures is likely to result in the best adaptation strategy as these three alternatives tend to complement each other. Grey infrastructure has good performance at reducing the risk of flooding, whilst green infrastructure brings in multiple additional benefits that grey infrastructure cannot offer.

KEYWORDS:

Co-benefits valuation; Cost-benefits analysis; Decision making; Flood risk management; Green-blue-grey infrastructure; Sustainable urban drainage

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