IFM Principles

Consider the Water Cycle as a whole and not just the design floods

  • Floods are a vital source of freshwater, in particular in arid and semi-arid areas. In view of that, flood management plans should be intertwined with drought management. Maximizing the "positive" aspects of floods should be approached through the effective use of floodwater. In large basins it can be achieved by storing water in upstream reservoirs, or enhancing groundwater recharge. In urban catchments, retaining water on roofs, or storing them in underground man-made storages. Such stored water can be used for appropriate purposes depending on the quality of the water stored. 
  • Seek multi-beneficial solutions: no more flood alleviation schemes per se, but only interventions that serve several different purposes simultaneously.
  • Need to manage all floods and not just some. How to manage floods greater than the design standard needs to be addressed. It needs to be recognized in policy and in practice that the residual risks of overtopping or failure of hydraulic infrastructure can be substantial. It requires specific attention, not only because of the uncertainties and gaps attached to observational and scientific knowledge but also because climate change places serious doubts on the assumption of stationarity of hydrologic series of records, on which river engineering designs are based.



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Graph modified after USGS original