Practical technologies to reduce flooding

Practical technologies to reduce flooding

Floods affect a huge number of people across the world every year. Flooding causes loss of, and damage to, many people’s lives, property, and livelihoods. Here we share technologies (understood as methods, systems, and tools) that can help reduce flooding, and the impacts it can have on peoples lives and livelihoods. If you don’t find the resources you need in the text or to the right, you can also have a look in the resource library where we’ve collected hundreds of resources that can help you understand, and build resilience to, floods. The solutions finder is home to instructions for a range of interventions that can mitigate the impact of floods. We also have a range of different blogs that can be useful including:

Minimising the hazard

There are a range of traditional (or grey), green, and combinations of the two, infrastructure approaches that can be applied to mitigate or minimise the risk of floods. For more on Grey and Green infrastructure and the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance’s policy and practice recommendations on the topic you can read the blog From Grey to Green infrastructure: a paradigm shift needed to deliver on climate action  Grey infrastructure is called so because traditional flood mitigating infrastructure, such as dams, levees, and dykes, is often built of concrete. These traditional approaches have one purpose: to keep people and their property safe from floods, and people trust that they will do so. This levee-effect, a false sense of security, can be problematic as all infrastructure has a critical point, if this point is reached and the infrastructure fails the consequences are often severe. For more details and examples read Flood Protection Infrastructure: The Fine Line Between Disaster Generation and Disaster Prevention based on our Post Event Review Capability on Hurricane Harvey in 2018. Green or Blue infrastructure refers to more natural, multipurpose, solutions and approaches which aim to provide a range of benefits including, but not limited to, flood protection. Examples of Green infrastructure are urban parks or woodlands, designed to “soak up” excessive rainfall hence reducing flood risk, while also mitigating climate change by binding carbon, and having a positive effect on people’s mental health as urban dwellers are given green spaces to enjoy, relax, and recover in. Another example is the Bio-dykes used in Nepal to reduce river bank erosion and flood risk. Our Resource Library is home to a range of resources that help you understand, advocate for, and use blue and green infrastructure approaches to reduce flood risk.   

Reducing Vulnerability

Our Solutions Finder is home to a range of guides to practical interventions which serve to reduce people’s vulnerability to floods including, low tech early warning systems, flood proof latrines, flood resistant crops, flood proof wells, raised grain storage, and floating gardens As Covid-19 makes it difficult for many practitioners to work face to face with communities we are increasingly dependent on digital technologies for communication and programme delivery. This blog on Adaptability in Times of Covid-19: Exploring Digital Resilience Building is a good example of how technology and digital communication channels can contribute to resilience building. The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance Community Programme teams use the Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities, (FRMC) a framework and tool for measuring flood resilience in order to understand what capacities communities have, and lack, and how these can be built to achieve flood resilience. Find out more about the framework, the tool, and the process of using the FRMC on our dedicated FRMC page.