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Ambio. 2012 Mar;41(2):180-92. doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0193-x. Epub 2011 Oct 18.

Assessment of the Netherlands' flood risk management policy under global change.

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Deltares, MH, Delft, The Netherlands.


Climate change and sea level rise urge low-lying countries to draft adaption policies. In this context, we assessed whether, to what extent and when the Netherlands' current flood risk management policy may require a revision. By applying scenarios on climate change and socio-economic development and performing flood simulations, we established the past and future changes in flood probabilities, exposure and consequences until about 2050. We also questioned whether the present policy may be extended much longer, applying the concept of 'policy tipping points'. Climate change was found to cause a significant increase of flood risk, but less than economic development does. We also established that the current flood risk management policy in the Netherlands can be continued for centuries when the sea level rise rate does not exceed 1.5 m per century. However, we also conclude that the present policy may not be the most attractive strategy, as it has some obvious flaws.

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