The port of Rotterdam is the second largest in the world. The harbour is situated in the south western river delta of The Netherlands prone to natural hazards like: wind storms, flooding, salt incursion (freshwater issues), and the impact of climate change on possible hazards. Potentially at risk are industries, energy plants, port facilities, railways, tunnels, and container terminals. In addition, a large section of Rotterdam’s working population is employed in the port area, and many businesses are highly dependent upon port activities. Severe economic damage can occur from long-term closures of the port and its industry. This case study explores the possibility of a multilayer approach to risk management, prevention, spatial planning disaster management; possibilities for risk spreading by private-public cooperation, like insurance policies for companies and citizens against flooding and storm damage; issues concerning freshwater availability and impacts of climate change; and finally the influence of risk reduction measures on risk spreading and responsibility of governmental institutions versus citizens and companies.
Europe’s geography is ideal for maritime activities, with over 70,000 km of shores Europe counts for 1,200 commercial ports with direct and indirect positive impacts on jobs and growth. Yet, significant changes in climate already have an impact and increasing temperatures, rising sea level, changing river discharges, as well as more intense and frequent extreme weather events require substantial adaptation and risk management strategies.
Between 1998 and 2009, Europe witnessed over 213 major damaging floods, causing around 1,150 deaths and forcing half million people to move. Overall, floods caused more than €52 billion in insured economic losses, making floods the most costly hazard faced by Europe.
Inclusive adaptation strategies
The port of Rotterdam is located on relatively high grounds and until now it has been safe against storm surge floods. However, due to sea level rise, future storm surges may severely impact Europe’s largest port infrastructure with, among others, large economic, societal, and environmental consequences and calls for a substantial stakeholder dialog for an inclusive decision-making process.
The multi-sector partnership is currently composed of the Province of South-Holland and the municipality of Rotterdam. Formally, this partnership is not responsible for flood protection of unembanked areas, but it does decide upon the design and implementation of flood protection and adaptation strategies. Yet, other public and private actors (land owners and business in the port region) are directly affected by the measures taken with only little influence in the decision-making process while often bearing responsibility of flood protection and resulting costs.
ENHANCE intervenes to:
• Develop a quantified approach for assessing flood risk in terms of societal disruption due to storm surges in the port of Rotterdam industrial areas;
• Map risks and analyse flood impacts and allow information to be shared between different players;
• Raise awareness of private sector on flood risks by using better communication tools and break the communication gap.
Enhancing the current MSP leads to balanced decision-making and contributes to consensus and increased transparency. Furthermore, exchange of views can lead to a coherent and holistic flood protection strategy for outer dike areas in which involved parties know their responsibilities and are aware of the consequences of a flood.
State of play
• The Province of South-Holland and the municipality of Rotterdam control outer-dike developments. However, they are not responsible or liable for possible consequences resulting from floods. To create a balance in the decision-making on outer-dike flood protection between private and public participation, involvement of other stakeholders is recommended.
• To establish a balanced partnership the vicious circle between lack of awareness, lack of information and lack of communication needs to be broken. Lack of awareness arises since The Netherlands is regarded as safe from flooding. Due to an information deficit, potential consequences are not known and insufficient communication causes businesses to be unaware of the implications and possible consequences of living in an outer dike area. This again strengthens the lack of awareness.
• Workshops are organised to explore new partnerships and possible protection strategies. In the short term, the aim is to open the dialogue, improve communication, and build trust between the stakeholders. At a later stage, the aim is to build a partnership focusing on the preferred strategy for outer dike flood protection.
• In order to decrease the information deficit, a quantified approach has been developed for assessing flood risk in terms of economic losses, failure of infrastructure and societal disruption. The results of several protection strategies will be discussed in the workshops.
This case study explores the possibility of a multilayer approach to risk management, prevention, spatial planning disaster management; possibilities for risk spreading by private-public cooperation, like insurance policies for companies and citizens against flooding and storm damage; issues concerning freshwater availability and impacts of climate change; and finally the influence of risk reduction measures on risk spreading and responsibility of governmental institutions versus citizens and companies.
The total time period for the ENHANCE project encompasses 48 months (month 1: December 2012). The time frame necessary to complete the deliverables within the case study is:
D1. Report: Month 12
D2. Report: Month 17
D3. Report & Database: Month 27
D4. Report: Month 36
D5. Report: Month 39
Five deliverables are formulated by the case study:
D1. Report: Risk profile case study using conceptual framework
D2. Report: Stakeholders analyses and MSP
D3. Report & Database: Risk Assessment results
D4. Report: Description of MSPs and disaster resilience schemes
D5. Report: Case study synthesis and policy recommendations