Report released - Flood plans look at climate change
A new report, Living with Floods: Key Lessons from Australia and Abroad analysed Australian flood reviews and compared processes and findings with the Netherlands, China and the USA, to determine similarity that reinforced Australian findings and differences. In addition to analysing the reviews themselves, the project team also conducted a series of semi-structured, in-depth interviews with relevant sectors including insurance, emergency services, floodplain managers, ecosystem researchers, local government and urban utilities.
The reviews varied greatly in their scope, but one of the most notable findings was that Australian reviews virtually ignored the issue of climate change and its impact on flooding; some reports didn’t refer to it at all. The vast majority of recommendations in all reviews pointed to a need for better governance, coordination, integration, policies, strategies, management, management tools, standards, legislation, accountabilities, oversight, communication, resourcing, risk assessment, planning, education and training. These are all socio-institutional issues and are vital for the effective implementation of any adaptation measures.
In contrast to the Australian reviews, climate change was a driving force behind the international reviewers, and all three international reviews overwhelmingly pointed to a need for ecosystem approaches to flood control. Each of the reports from the Netherlands, the United States and China had important lessons for Australia’s flood policies, particularly in relation to structural versus non-structural measures, the role of disaster relief funds, flood insurance, and the use of mitigation measures such as voluntary land purchase and relocation.