Third World Centre for Water Management

Journals

Volume 21, Issue 4

Theme Issue: Water and Disasters

ONLINE ACCESS TO THIS ISSUE

GUEST EDITORIAL
Water and Disasters—Crafting Creative Solutions


PROMOTING DISASTER-RESILIENT COMMUNITIES: THE GREAT SUMATRA-ANDAMAN EARTHQUAKE OF 26 DECEMBER 2004 AND THE RESULTING INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI (pp. 543-559)

Jason K. Levya and Chennat Gopalakrishnanb

aDepartment of Information and Computer Science, University of Hawaii, Pearl City, HI, USA; bDepartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA

Contact: Jason K. Levy, e-mail: jlevy@hawaii.edu

Abstract: The human casualties and socio-economic damage associated with the Great Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake of 26 December 2004 and the resulting Indian Ocean tsunami are discussed. The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake was the largest earthquake to occur since the advent of global digital seismometry and it produced the most devastating tsunami in recorded history (and the largest humanitarian response). A reliable Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System is shown to require an improved seismographic network, a real-time sea-level observing network covering the entire Indian Ocean basin, and the deployment of deep-ocean pressure sensors. It is concluded that Indian Ocean governments can achieve more tsunami-resilient communities by addressing poverty, promoting education, harnessing technological advances, investing in emergency medical and rescue services, and empowering stakeholders.


FLOODS AS CATALYSTS FOR POLICY CHANGE: HISTORICAL LESSONS FROM ENGLAND AND WALES (pp. 561-557)

Clare L. Johnson, Sylvia M. Tunstall and Edmund C. Penning-Rowsell, Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University, Enfield, UK

Contact: Clare L. Johnson, e-mail: c.johnson@mdx.ac.uk

Abstract: The tied relation ship between flood disasters and the demand for a policy response is well known. What is not well known is how and why particular policy ideas emerge as policy change options. Drawing on the public policy theoretical literature, the paper evaluates the policy impact of four of the most significant flood disasters in England and Wales in the past 50 years. In so doing, it seeks to highlight which of the environmental, contextual and behavioural drivers have, in the past, been critical factors in the elevation of policy options to policy agendas. By monitoring changes in such drivers we can offer an understanding of the potential policy changes that may occur in response to flood disasters in the future.


QUANTIFIED ANALYSIS OF THE PROBABILITY OF FLOODING IN THE THAMES ESTUARY UNDER IMAGINABLE WORST-CASE SEA LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS (pp. 577-591)

R.J. Dawsona, J.W. Halla, P.D. Batesb and R.J. Nichollsc

aSchool of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and Tyndafl Centre for Climate Change Research, UK; bSchool of Geographical Sciences, Bristol University, Bristol, UK; cSchool of Civil Engineering and the Environment, Southampton University, UK, and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK

Contact: R.J. Dawson, e-mail: Richard.dawson@newcastle.ac.uk

Abstract: Most studies of the impacts of sea level rise (SLR) have explored scenarios of < 1 m during the 21st century, even though larger rises are possible. This paper takes a different approach and explores and quantifies the likely flood impacts in the Thames estuary for a number of plausible, but unlikely, SLR scenarios. The collapse of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) could cause global mean sea level to rise by 5-6 m; here a time-scale for such an event of 100 years is assumed to create a worst-case scenario. Combined with the 1 in 1000 storm surge event, this would result in 1000 km2 of land being frequently inundated. This area currently contains 1 million properties and their inundation would result in direct damage of at least £97.8 billion at 2003 prices. Smaller SLR scenarios, resulting from a partial collapse of the WAIS over 100 years, also have significant potential impacts, demonstrating the vulnerability of the Thames estuary to SLR. Construction of a new storm surge barrier in the outer Thames estuary is shown to provide greater resilience to unexpectedly high SLR because of the additional large flood storage capacity that the barrier would provide. This analysis has, for the first time, connected mechanism of abrupt climate change and SLR with hydrodynamic modelling used to quantify impacts. In particular, it is recognized that future management strategies need to be adaptive and robust in order to manage the uncertainty associated with climate change.


ADVANCES IN DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS FOR FLOOD DISASTER MANAGEMENT: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES (pp. 593-612)

Jason K. Levya, Chennat Gopalakrishnanb and Zhaohui Linc

aUniversity of Hawaii-Leeward, Department of Information and Computer Science, University of  Pearl City, HI, USA; bUniversity of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Honolulu, HI, USA; cInstitute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Contact: Jason K. Levy, e-mail: jlevy@hawaii.edu

Abstract: Natural variations in the global climate are governed by complex interactions among the atmosphere, oceans, and land cover. Modem climate models suggest that these variations will continue, but with larger magnitudes and greater variability due to human influences. This is expected to increase the risk of flood disaster events. To improve flood risk management, a flood decision support system architecture is proposed that capitalizes on the latest advances in remote sensing, geographic information systems, hydrologic models, numerical weather prediction, information technology, and decision theory. Specifically, the dynamic climate prediction system developed by the Institute of atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, is discussed in the context of flood management and planning in the Yangtze River valley, China.


INTEGRATED RISK MANAGEMENT OF FLOOD DISASTERS IN METROPOLITAN AREAS OF CHINA (pp. 613-627)

Peijun Shia, Yi Geb, Yi Yuanc and Weiping Guob

aCollege of Resources, Sciences and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China; Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disasters; bKey Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disasters; cNational Disaster Reduction Center of China, Ministry of Civil Affairs, Beijing, China

Contact: Peijun Shi, e-mail: spj@bnu.edu.cn

Abstract: A review of flood disasters in China during the past five decades has shown a steady increase in the disaster toll due to rapid urbanization, especially through landscape urbanization in metropolitan areas. This paper illustrates the relationship and the interactions between urbanization in the metropolis and the process of flood disaster changes. Furthermore, a solution is proposed to alleviate fluctuations in flood disasters through the adjustment of the land use structure and patterrn in metropolitan areas. Based on the solution, the authors conclude that the proportion of ‘ecological land’ in metropolitan areas should not be lower than 40%. The proportion of water and wetlands in ecological land should not be lower than their area in the years of average precipitation and water level. This means that in the Pearl River Metropolitan Area and the Yangtze River Delta Metropolitan Area, the proportion of water and wetlands in ecological land should be more than 25%. Moreover, the authors propose constituting a regional management mode which combines government, society, and insurance companies for controlling flood risk in metropolitan areas.


RAPID ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF FLOOD-CONTROL FAILURE ALONG THE RIO GRANDE: A CASE STUDY (pp. 629-649)

Zhuping Shenga, Allen Sturdivantb, Ari Michelsena and Ron Lacewellb

aTexas A&M University, Agriculture Research and Extension Center, El Paso, TX, USA; bTexas A&M University, Department of Agricultural Economics, College Station, TX, USA

Contact: Zhuping Sheng, e-mail: z-sheng@tamu.edu

Abstract: Recent flood events along the international border between the USA and Mexico resulted in significant economic damage and loss of human life. The International Boundary and Water Commission, the agency responsible for monitoring US-Mexican flood control levees, had requested funding for maintenance and improvement of these levees. However, the Office of Management and Budget requires agencies to provide benefits or in this case avoided loss estimates to justify the budget request. Due to severe time constraints in the budgetary process there was a need for a rapid assessment of the potential economic impacts from a failure of this ageing flood-control infrastructure. The economic losses avoided by few major flood-control projects on the Rio Grande were estimated using an innovative combination of satellite imagery, geographic information systems, and economic methods. The control projects apply to about 547 km (340 miles) of levees from Caballo Reservoir in New Mexico to Brownsville, Texas, and include several million people, extensive industry, and agricultural production. High resolution imagery was used to identify and quantify potential flood inundation areas, types of land use, and impacts of flood-control infrastructure failure. Value estimates of residential, industrial, and commercial property, and agricultural production at risk were developed from property assessment data, crop enterprise budgets, census data, and community leaders. Damage factors accounting for good inundation levels and building contents were then used to develop gross economic losses avoided by flood-control infrastructure for each of the different property and land use types in each project area. The baseline analysis indicates that the four projects cumulatively prevent one time losses of US$322.9 million in flood-control protection.


ADOPTION OF MORE TECHNICALLY EFFICIENT IRRIGATION SYSTEMS AS A DROUGHT RESPONSE (pp. 651-662)

Eric C. Schucka, W. Marshall Frasiera, Robert S. Webbb, Lindsey J. Ellingsona and Wendy J. Umbergera

aColorado State University, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Fort Collins, CO, USA; bNational Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Climate Diagnostics Center and Western Water Assessment, Boulder, CO, USA

Contact: Eric C. Schuck, e-mail: eric.schuck@colostate.edu

Abstract: Adoption of technically efficient irrigation systems can mitigate the effects of drought by allowing irrigators to maintain water consumption with reduced applications. This paper uses survey data from the worst drought in Colorado’s history to examine how drought conditions affect the choice of irrigation system by irrigators. Results indicate that drought conditions did significantly increase the percentage of farms using more efficient sprinkler systems relative to gravity systems. The key factors affecting the decision were land tenure, farm scale and available water supply, suggesting that those enterprises with the most owned land, the highest number of acres and the most reliable water supplies are most likely to invest in more efficient irrigation systems during severe droughts.


RAINFALL INSURANCE: A PROMISING TOOL FOR DROUGHT MANAGEMENT (pp. 663-675)

Kimberly A. Zeulia and Jerry R. Skees

aUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Madison, WI, USA; bUniversity of Kentucky, Department of Agricultural Economics, Lexington, KY, USA

Contact: Kimberly A. Zeuli, e-mail: zeuli@aae.wisc.edu

Abstract: Diverse and complex water management system has been created in many areas of the world to manage the risk of drought. The primary challenge is the inherent uncertainty of water supply and demand over time, which makes the process of correctly allocating water rights annually a difficult and costly task. As a result, risk averse water authorities make overly conservative estimates of water supply. This paper introduces the use of a rainfall index contract as a tool to improve drought management. An irrigation district in New South Wales, Australia, is used as an illustration of the concept.


BOOK REVIEWS
The Future of Large Dams. Dealing with Social, Environmental, Institutional and Political Costs, Thayer Scudder, London, Earthscan, 2005

Water Institutions: Policies, Performance, and Prospects, edited by Chennat Gopalakrishnan, Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K. Biswas, Berlin, Springer, 2005

REPORT
Seminar on Water and Energy, Stockholm, 21 August 2005

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