Flood Foresight usa: Scoping Document Colin r thorne University of Nottingham, uk edward P. Evans University of Nottingham, uk pete Rabbon us army Corps of Engineers, usa this document should be cited as



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Foresight ‘Future Flooding USA’ Workshop: Washington DC, 15-19 September 2008


Flood Foresight USA: Scoping Document
Colin R Thorne University of Nottingham, UK

Edward P. Evans University of Nottingham, UK

Pete Rabbon US Army Corps of Engineers, USA

This document should be cited as:

Thorne, C.R., Evans, E.P., and Rabbon, P. (2008) with contributions by Jim Hall, Robert Nicholls, Jon Parke, Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Nick Reynard, Paul Sayers, Jonathan Simm, Suresh Surendran, and Jon Wicks (UK Foresight team) and Todd Bridges, Bill Curtis, Jack Davis, Susan Durden, Jeff Harris, Rolf Olson, Edmond Russo, Martin Schultz, Eric Thaut and Kate White (US Corps team).  Flood Foresight USA: Scoping Document. Report to the UK Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, UK Government Office for Science, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and US Army Corps of Engineers, based on the Foresight Mission to Washington DC (September 15-19, 2008), under DIUS Purchase Order Number 84001054, University of Nottingham, UK, 23p.


Context

The Foresight ‘Future Flooding’ report of 2004 (Evans et al. 2004a and b) in the UK is an example of scientific research being used to inform policy and decision making at a national and regional level. The approach and methodologies developed and applied in the project have elicited interest abroad, leading to seminars in China and Russia in 2005. The Chinese seminar has led, in turn, to a joint 3-year, Sino-UK project to examine the future of flood risk in the Taihu Basin around Shanghai that runs from 2006 to 2009.


In 2007, presentations on the Foresight ‘Future Flooding’ project at technical meetings of the US Army Corps of Engineers attended by senior personnel and representatives of the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) and the National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA) stimulated interest in the United States of America concerning the transferability of the Foresight approach and the possible value of a Foresight ‘Future Flooding’ project in the USA.
To progress the ideas already discussed informally and in a preliminary fashion by scientists and engineers, a mission was performed by UK scientists and engineers with experience in flood foresight between September 15 and 19, 2008. The mission was performed under the auspices of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), in particular the British Consulate in Atlanta, and it benefited from sponsorship by the FCO, the UK Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the UK Government Office for Science. The mission included closed meetings with USACE scientists and engineers and Corps leadership, and a two-day workshop attended by US stakeholders and experts in flood risk management from a wide variety of Federal and State agencies.
The workshop was highly successful and attained all of its goals, and the
presentations made by both US and UK speakers have been supplied to the
sponsors.  It was organised by Susan Durden and Jack Davis of the US team and Kerry Norton and Jon Parke of the UK team. It was thanks largely to their diligent efforts that the workshop came to fruition.
This document represents the main deliverable generated by the Foresight Mission and is being supplied to the UK sponsors and the USACE for their use.

Background – Flood risk in the USA

Federal disaster assistance outlays through the Disaster Relief Fund have grown drastically over the past three decades, increasing from an average annual outlay of $444M during the 1980s, to an average annual outlay of $3.75B during the past decade (expressed in constant 2005 dollars). (CRS, 2005).


Flood risk management defines flood risk as:
Flood Risk = f(probability, consequences)
This definition conveys the essential need for a partnership between the agencies, at all levels, responsible for a wide range of actions relevant to integrated flood risk management that seeks to manage down the consequences of flooding as well as reduce its probability of occurrence.

The Foresight ‘Future Flooding’ Project 2004

The Foresight project:




  • used a structured framework which considered science-based scenarios of socioeconomic development and climate change to, “provide an indication of future risks from flooding and coastal erosion.”

  • looked 30 to 100 years ahead in, “quantifying the possible scale of the challenges and providing a broad assessment of the different measures available to reduce future flood risks to acceptable levels.”

It considered two questions:




  • How might the risks of flooding and coastal erosion change in the UK over the next 100 years?

  • What are the options are available for Government and the private sector in responding to the future challenges?

It yielded two key messages:




  • Continuing with existing policies is not an option—in three out of the four future scenarios considered, risk grows to unacceptable levels (Figure 1).

  • Risk needs to be dealt with on a broad front—“we must either invest more in sustainable approaches to flood and coastal erosion management or learn to live with increased flooding.”




Figure 1. Annual Expected Damages due to flooding increase to unacceptable levels in three out of four future scenarios, with particularly significant increases in risk at the coast and in the major river floodplains by the 2080s.
The techniques and the ability to bring out these credible, easily understandable messages to senior, key stakeholders, in language which they found useful, was one of the most important achievements of the project. This is evidenced by the incorporation of the Foresight messages in UK FRM policy, UK land use policy, new research projects in key areas and a doubling of UK Treasury investment in integrated flood-risk management (IFRM) funding (Figure 2). Further proof lies in the durability of the messages. For example, following catastrophic UK flooding in summer 2007, Sir Michael Pitt (Pitt 2008) funded updating of the Foresight FCD project as part of a UK Cabinet Office review of lessons learned in the UK from the flood events (Evans et al. 2008).

Figure 2. Examples of the many policy and planning documents and studies that have followed from the Foresight ’Future Flooding’ Project (2004).




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