The concept of flood risk management, promoted by the EU Floods Directive, tries to mitigate flood risks not only by structural, hydraulic engineering measures, but also by non-structural measures, like, e.g., land-use planning, warning and evacuation systems. However, few methods currently exist for the economic evaluation of such non-structural measures and, hence, their comparison with structural measures. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the potential benefits of employing a wider range of economic appraisal methods for flood projects, in particular, it provides examples and applications of methodologies which may be employed to evaluate non-structural measures and their transaction costs. In two case studies at the Mulde River, Germany, two non-structural measures, a resettlement option and a warning system, are evaluated and compared with structural alternatives with regard to their effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and efficiency. Furthermore, a simple approach is tested in order to show the transaction costs of these measures. Case study results show that the choice of evaluation criteria can have a major impact on the assessment results. In this regard, efficiency as an evaluation criterion can be considered as superior to cost-effectiveness and effectiveness as it is also able to consider sufficiently the impacts of non-structural measures. Furthermore, case study results indicate that transaction costs could play an important role, especially with non-structural measures associated with land-use changes. This could explain why currently these kinds of measures are rarely selected by decision makers.

Author names: 
Meyer, V.
Priest. S.
Kuhlicke, C

Meyer, V.; Priest. S.; Kuhlicke, C. (2012). Economic evaluation of structural and non-structural flood risk management measures: examples from the Mulde River. Natural Hazards. 62:301-324. Doi: 10.1007/s11069-011-9997-z

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