Making room for rivers: Quantification of benefits from a flood risk perspective

Nathalie E.M. Asselman*, Frans Klijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


Since 1996, the Netherlands has adopted a flood risk management policy based on making more room for the rivers. Currently, the focus in flood risk management is being adapted again, in view of increasing societal vulnerability and foreseeable effects of climate change. In this context, the choice between making more room for the river and/or strengthening embankments is again of major concern. This calls for further quantification of the effectiveness, costs and benefits of all possible measures. Making room for rivers was originally advocated by referring to a reduction of the probability of failure of the embankments and a reduction of the consequences in case of breaching. These arguments still apply, but the effect of making more room for rivers on flood risk has never been properly quantified yet. In this paper we identify three potential risk reducing effects, and quantify their effect for along the Rhine and Meuse Rivers in the Netherlands. We show that lowering the flood levels means smaller flood probabilities, that larger floodplain surface area significantly influences the relationship between discharge and flood level, and that lower flood levels in the river translate into smaller flooding depths and/or flood extent, and thus reduce the consequences of flooding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12001
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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