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The importance of public risk perception for the effective management of pluvial floods in urban areas: A case study from Germany

Heavy precipitation events are expected to increase in frequency and intensity in many parts of Europe as a result of climate change. These events can affect regions located far from rivers that have never been affected before. As warning times are short, there are hardly any effective emergency measures to mitigate the severe damage caused by pluvial floods. Therefore, long‐term mitigation measures are necessary for sustainable urban flood management. However, people first need to realise their personal risk in order to become active and take private precautionary measures. To get a better understanding of the processes underlying public risk perception of pluvial floods, a questionnaire‐based telephone survey was conducted analysing two case studies in western Germany. Key findings reveal that risk perceptions need to be distinguished between personal and global perception. Personal risk perception was low among the participants, while their global risk perception was far higher. The determinants of global and personal risk perception on pluvial flooding were identified. The study also showed that mitigation behaviour is influenced by personal risk perception, knowledge, education, and housing conditions. These determinants should receive attention when future risk communication and flood management strategies are developed.
Author: Netzel, L. M.; Heldt, S.; Engler, S.; Denecke, M.
Language: English
Pubished By: Journal of Flood Risk Management
Pubished date: 2020

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