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Floodplain Evaluation Matrix (FEM) – A holistic method for evaluating floodplains in the context of integrated flood risk management

Schober, Bernhard, Hauer, Christoph, Habersack, Helmut
Österreichische Wasser- und Abfallwirtschaft 2018 v.70 no.1-2 pp. 54-63
floodplains, hydrology, infrastructure, planning, risk management, rivers, water rights
The preservation – and where possible the restoration – of floodplains within an integrated flood risk management is a high-level demand for many years now and is considered as sustainable and non-structural measure. However, in reality land consumption for settlements and infrastructure is still ongoing at a very high rate especially on river floodplains. This paper presents the Floodplain Evaluation Matrix (FEM) – a novel approach which enables to assess the effectiveness of coherent floodplains and to define threshold values in order to impede progressing construction activities and the associated step-by-step loss of floodplain effectiveness due to summation effects. Based on the analysis of different hydrological and hydraulic parameters, each distinct floodplain is evaluated and its effectiveness is quantified. This provides the basis for the preservation of floodplains by means of nationwide valid threshold values of the water rights act but also within the fields of spatial planning and building laws.