Social Science

Making Room for Our Forthcoming Rivers

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This paper provides a schematic, conceptual trip across a set of paradigms that can be adopted to design flood control actions and the associated river setting, including the space allocated to the river. By building on such paradigms, it eventually delineates an integrated approach to identify a socially desirable river setting, under a climate changing reality. The key point addressed is that when residual Risk and Operation, Management and Replacement costs are considered to their full extent, even a basic economic analysis may suggest alternative river settings that can be more attractive, particularly if accompanied by suitable economic-administrative management measures. Emphasis is put on the deep uncertainty characterizing the whole decision problem and on the need for a drastic change of paradigm. The approach proposed can greatly improve current Flood Risk Management Plans responding to the European Flood Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC). It can also help to develop constructive dialogues with stakeholders, while enhancing the understanding of the problem. Although mainly intended to address a conceptual level, it also aims at providing an applicable method.