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Intervention – Measurestaken immediately before andduring a flood event: Levee maintenanceand monitoring

Levees are a technically complicated and often expensive means of protecting assets from rivers. They are often planned, designed and built using the latest technology and knowledge available. However, it is all too often forgotten that further investment is required to maintain, upgrade and monitor them. Flood protection systems cannot provide absolute safety and will fail if an event exceeds the protection level for which they were designed. Often they fail even before that due to degradation and insufficient maintenance. New methods can provide better protection and more effective response to reduce levee failure and allow response teams to react more appropriately if a levee is breached. These include modern prevention and forecasting, real-time levee monitoring, and failure-probability models. While there is the much-lauded German standard (‘DIN’ or Deutsche Industrienorm) that applies to dams holding back lakes, there is no similar sort of ‘handbook’ in Germany giving guidance on how levees should be analyzed. In this regard countries with high flood risk, such as the Netherlands, could provide valuable insights for other countries. There is also the International Levee Handbook,28 a six-nation project that offers sound advice and could be valuable for countries including Germany and others.

PERC Reports