Prioritize risk reduction based on risk assessment. Don’t focus only on large waterways or arbitrary ‘return’ periods.
Germany’s current policies and decisions on flood protection focus mainly on large riversystems. Investments are made with a goal of protecting assets up to a level with a set period of return (typicallya one-in-100-year event). But investments are also needed to reduce risk, including flash floods, in smallerwatercourses, as the floods in 2016 so rightly show. A more comprehensive approach based on riskassessments is needed; it is imperative to include all risks and channel investments to the highest-risk areas.Here too, it is important to keep in mind that land use and climate change affect all types of flooding.Ultimately, whatever solutions are found, they reflect a process of what society decides are acceptable risks.