The economic and environmental benefits of eco friendly flood schemes

An image to illustrate eco friendly flood schemes
© iStock/VuCongDanh

University of Stirling is leading a project to explore the economic and environmental benefits of eco friendly flood schemes.

The £467,000 project will study eco friendly flood schemes and assess how effective blue and green infrastructure is at protection from rising water levels and surface water flooding.

Eco friendly flood schemes

Blue and green infrastructure (BGI) includes wetlands, urban parks and vegetated river banks. The researchers will also assess the economic value of additional environmental benefits of these eco friendly flood schemes such as:

  • Improved air quality;
  • New recreational opportunities;
  • Controlling water pollutants; and
  • Increasing resilience to heat waves and noise pollution.

Flooding in Vietnam’s coastal cities

Vietnam’s low-lying coastal cities are particularly vulnerable to increased flood risk due to rapid urbanisation and climate change. Floods were estimated to cause $3.85billion worth of damage between 1999 and 2009 – the equivalent to 1.3% of national GDP – and accounted for 67% of deaths among all disaster types between 1989 and 2010.

The low lying coastal cities in Vietnam are particularly vulnerable to risk of flooding. This is due to urbanisation and climate change. Floods accounted for 67 percent of deaths caused by disasters between 1989 and 2010. Similarly, floods cost an estimated 1.3 percent of national GDP worth of damage between 1999 and 2009.

The lead researcher and environmental economist, Dr Tobias Börger, said: “Traditional flood defence and mitigation measures in Vietnam and globally, have favoured hard infrastructure like dykes, concrete barriers and raised structures – all of which are costly to build and maintain, and may have adverse environmental impacts.”

Börger added: “While we already know a lot about predicting and modelling floods, evidence demonstrating the success of blue and green infrastructure is mostly collected from laboratory tests or small scale urban installations. There is little known about the natural capital and added economic value that alternative BGI measures for flood defence and mitigation can provide.”

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