Glossary S


A plausible description of how the future may develop, based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about key relationships and driving forces (e.g., rate of technology changes, prices). Scenarios are neither predictions nor forecasts. The results of scenarios (unlike forecasts) depend on the boundary conditions of the scenario.

Source: Green et al (2004)

A plausible description of a situation, based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions. Scenarios are neither predictions nor forecasts. The results of scenarios (unlike forecasts) depend on the boundary conditions of the scenario.

Source: FloodSite


Sealing is a dryproofing technique where the floodwater does not reach the interior of the building as the external walls and openings are sealed and used to hold back the floodwater.

Source: FLOWS-Team, TUHH, WP2Cv


Refers to either: the resilience of a particular receptor to a given hazard. For example, frequent sea water flooding may have considerably greater impact on a fresh water habitat, than a brackish lagoon; or: the change in a result or conclusion arising from a specific perturbation in input values or assumptions.

Source: FloodSite

Sensitivity Analysis

The identification at the beginning of the appraisal of those parameters, which critically affect the choice between the identified alternative courses of action.

Source: FloodSite


Shielding is a dryproofing strategy where flood barriers are installed at some distance from the building or a group of properties. Free standing barriers or anchored barriers (pillars temporarily fixed at a concrete plate) are usually used.

Source: FLOWS-Team, TUHH, WP2Cv

Social learning

Processes through which the stakeholders learn from each other and, as a result, how to better manage the system in question.

Source: FloodSite

Social resilience

The capacity of a community or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt, by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure. This is determined by the degree to which the social system is capable of organising itself to increase its capacity for learning from past disasters for better future protection and to improve risk reduction measures.

Source: FloodSite


The origin of a hazard (for example, heavy rainfall, strong winds, surge etc).

Source: FloodSite

Spatial planning

Spatial planning is a task belonging to the public sector, which aims for the coordination and regulation of activities with spatial impact considering long-term effects/benefits. Spatial Planning operates with methods to influence the distribution of people and activities in spaces of various scales. This includes urban and regional planning as well as planning on national and international levels. This planning often involves the division of a city or a county by legislative regulations into areas (zones), specifying the uses allowable for the real property in these areas. In combination with flood mitigation planning also flood prone areas can be designated.

Source: FLOWS

Public policy and actions intended to influence the distribution of activities in space and the linkages between them. It will operate at EU, national and local levels and embraces land use planning and regional policy.

Source: FloodSite


Parties/persons with a direct interest (stake) in an issue, also Stakeowners.

Source: FloodSite

Stakeholder engagement

Process through which the stakeholders have power to influence the outcome of the decision. Critically, the extent and nature of the power given to the stakeholders varies between different forms of stakeholder engagement.

Source: FloodSite


A strategy is defined as combination of long-term goals, aims, specific targets, technical measures, policy instruments, and process patterns (e.g. participation, intense horizontal communication) which are continuously aligned with the societal context. The societal context comprises economic, social, and political conditions, formal and informal institutions, resources and capabilities.

Source: Pettigrew & Whipp (1991), Volberda (1998)

A strategy is defined as combination of measures and instruments as well as the necessary resources for actions to implement the basic long-term goals of a business organisation.

Source: Whipp (2001)

A strategy is a consistent set of measures, aiming to influence developments in a specific way.

Source: Hooijer et al. 2004

A strategy is a combination of long-term goals, aims, specific targets, technical measures, policy instruments, and process, which are continuously aligned with the societal context.

Source: FloodSite

Strategic spatial planning

Process for developing plans explicitly containing strategic intentions referring to spatial development. Strategic plans typically exist at different spatial levels (local, regional etc).

Source: FloodSite

Structural flood management measures

Measure taken to protect people and property, that counteracts the flood event in order to reduce the hazard or to influence the course or probability of occurrence of the event. Often used as synonym for active protection measures

Source: FLOWS

Sustainable development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of "needs", in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organisation on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.

Source: The classic definition of sustainable development (Brundtland et al, 1987)

Sustainable development means improving the quality of life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.

Source: The World Conservation Union et al (1991) gave a complementary definition

sustainable development is about .ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come.; and that achieving it means meeting the following four objectives at the same time, in the UK and the world as a whole:

• social progress which recognises the needs of everyone;

• effective protection of the environment;

• prudent use of natural resources; and

• maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.

No one of these objectives is more important than another. Although there can be tensions between achieving them, in the long-term success in one is dependent on the others.

Source: UK Government (DETR, 1999)

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Source: FloodSite

Sustainable drainage

Natural Drainage and water retention measures (SUDS).

Source: FLOWS, Cambridgeshire County Council (2006)

Sustainable Drainage Systems: an approach to surface water management that combines a sequence of management practices and control structures designed to drain surface water in a more sustainable fashion than some conventional techniques.

Source: CIRIA (2007)

Sustainable flood risk management

Sustainable flood risk management. as Flood risk management undertaken in the context of Integrated Water Resource Management.

Source: FloodSite

strategy which aims to

A) be effective in the long term, and

B) can be combined /integrated with other functions - usually summarised as economic, social and ecological development.

Source: The IRMA-SPONGE Glossary (Appendix 2)

The concept of sustainable development will be firmly rooted in all flood risk management and coastal erosion decisions and operations. Full account will be taken of the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainable development, and our arrangements will be transparent enough to allow our customers and stakeholders to perceive that this is the case. Account will also continue to be taken of long-term drivers such as climate change. Decisions will reflect the uncertainty surrounding a number of key drivers and will where appropriate take a precautionary approach. Decisions will be based on the best available evidence and science.

Source: The British government policy, under consultation (Defra, 2004)

Sustainable flood risk management involves:

• ensuring quality of life by reducing flood damages but being prepared for floods

• mitigating the impact of risk management measures on ecological systems at a variety of spatial and temporal scales

• the wise use of resources in providing, maintaining and operating infrastructure and risk management measures

• maintaining appropriate economic activity (agricultural, industrial, commercial, residential) on the flood plain.

Source: Samuels (2000), FloodSite


Shallow vegetated channels that conduct and retain water, and may also permit infiltration; the vegetation filters particulate matter)

Source: Tourbier/White (2007)

Route ways in the landscape for the passage of storm water and biodiversity habitat.

Source: TUHH

Under drained Swales: Swales with enhanced drainage features.

Source: FLOWS, Cambridgeshire County Council (2006)


The propensity of a particular receptor to experience harm.

Source: FloodSite


An assembly of elements, and the interconnections between them, constituting a whole and generally characterised by its behaviour. Applied also for social and human systems.

Source: Floodsite

System state

The condition of a system at a point in time.

Source: FloodSite

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