Benefits of dikes outweigh costs in flood control: study

By , on July 31, 2017


A well maintained ditch in the Netherlands (Photo By GerardM at nl.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0)
A well maintained ditch in the Netherlands (Photo By GerardM at nl.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0)

LONDON, Aug 1 — The economic and long-term benefits of building dikes to reduce flood damage far outweigh their initial cost on a global scale, and it is even possible to reduce the economic damage from river floods in the future to below today’s levels, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The authors assessed how much it would cost to build and maintain these dikes, and whether the benefits would outweigh the costs using a range of hydrological and economic models.

They found that in many parts of the world, it is even possible to reduce the economic damage from river floods in the future to below today’s levels, even when climate change, growing populations, and urbanization are taken into account.

“Investment in flood defenses is an effective measure for a wide range of countries and this paper helps provide policymakers with the evidence they need to better protect their populations,” said Prof. Paul Bates from the University of Bristol, one of the co-authors of the study.

The team hopes that their findings will allow for more informed dialogue on flood risk management at an international level.