Implementing new flood protection standards: Obstacles to adaptive management and how to overcome these

Frans Klijn*, Nathalie E.M. Asselman, Arno De Kruif, Pieter J.T.M. Bloemen, Marjolijn Haasnoot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


The Netherlands is updating its flood protection, whilst fully taking into account climate change and socioeconomic development. This translates in 'anticipatory standards' which need to be met in 2050, and which apply for the then foreseen climate and economy. Whilst the government maintains to have adopted a policy of adaptive planning and management, the new standards are thus based on one future situation, which qualifies as a 'high end scenario' from a flood risk management perspective. The consequences of adopting these new standards are now becoming clear. It is expected that many hundreds of kilometres of primary flood defences need to be reinforced and/or raised, at an estimated investment of about 9-14 billion euros. The many uncertainties about actual future development, however, complicate the decision making about the implementation of individual reinforcement projects: should one aim at immediately meeting the new standard or gradually improve and grow towards it? In this paper we discuss the uncertain decision making context, show that lawfulness (working according to procedures, rules and regulations) and expediency (towards a purpose) may jeopardize the good intentions of adaptive management, and argue that optimization may not provide the most useful answer to this decision making problem.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21003
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management, FLOODrisk 2016 - Lyon Convention Centre, Lyon, France
Duration: 17 Oct 201621 Oct 2016
Conference number: 3


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