Project outcomes and beyond

Specific outcomes

The goal of the pilot was accomplished at the end of the project: increase knowledge and awareness about the vulnerability of vital infrastructure to flooding and its cascading effects. The stakeholders were surprised (especially the municipality) by the cascading effects of an electricity failure in areas that will keep dry in case of a flooding (interview with pilot manager, 2019). The final report can be accessed here. The main results are:

  • Risk maps and table with the most vulnerable electricity grid assets
  • Knowledge gained translated into recommendations on effectiveness of measures and policy advise to the National Government
  • A flood threat warning app has been designed and needs to be tested (information based on presentation given in 2018). Based on the geolocation of the user, the app can inform about flood risk, flood impacts and the effective measures one can take (i.e. evacuate, seek shelter) in their area.
  • An article (in Dutch) was written for the magazine 'Conceptueel'; the English translation can be read here

The video below shows a 3D animation of flooding simulations for the province of Zeeland:

The manual (in Dutch only) for this 3D viewer can be downloaded here - and more information is available on the Dutch website about the 3D viewer.

Process outcomes

  • New networks with the electricity grid owners, and
  • Increased awareness about the vulnerability of electricity grid owners among stakeholders.

In the video below, the lessons learnt and outcomes of this pilot are summarized:

Flood risk management strategies (FRMS)

The table below shows the FRM strategies that were considered before, during and after FRAMES. Based on the table, the outcome of the pilot enables a shift in FRG arrangements going from protection/ defence dominance to more complex FRG arrangements including prevention, preparedness and recovery.

Table 1 Flood risks management strategies in the pilot area/region considering the timeline of FRAMES
Layers of MLS Before FRAMES during FRAMES after FRAMES
1 Flood protection Hard infrastructure (dykes) Hard infrastructure (Baseline monitor, 2017) No changes in hard infrastructure (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
2 Spatial adaptation Low attention

Spatial adaptation-Delta program (interview with pilot manager, 2019)

Risk maps with risk label for the most vulnerable assets with several scenarios (interview with pilot manager, 2019) Implement spatial planning

(Baseline monitor, 2017), restriction in flood prone areas, relocation of assets in the electricity network (Nelen & Schuurmans, 2018)

3 Preparedness and response Not the focus of this pilot Increase preparedness (plans for electricity failure and develop switch-off plan for the potential flooding locations); Evacuation plans based on risk label;

Risk communication: risk hazard maps  (Nelen & Schuurmans, 2018)

Embed knowledge about vulnerability of vital infrastructure in spatial planning policies (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
4 Resilient recovery Not the focus of this pilot No changes in recovery (interview with pilot manager, 2019). No changes in recovery (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Lessons learnt

Knowledge needs for flood resilience

The knowledge generated through the pilot activities will be used to increase the awareness of electricity grid owners and National Government on the topic. The challenge is to embed this knowledge into new spatial planning policies (evacuation plans, grid reconstruction plans) (Nelen & Schuurmans, 2018).

Knowledge needs related to content

Applying the MLS approach on studying the vulnerability of electricity grids in Zeeland brought together stakeholders that they never worked before. Thus, new relationships and trust were build that can result in further collaboration and collaboration in similar topics related to vital services in other parts of the country. Moreover, these projects result in knowledge based evidence to open up opportunities for changes in spatial planning policies.

o  Applying MLS approach: the Risk label method is a hazard-risk based approach used to analyse/map the risk of electricity assets in case of a flooding. This method is a result of the validation workshop. This method can be applied used for impact analysis of electricity networks in other areas (Nelen & Schuurmans, 2018).

o  Methods / techniques / tools applied to learn about vulnerabilities: An interactive 3D model was used to create the risk maps and the risk label method to assess the impact of assets failure in case of flooding (Nelen & Schuurmans, 2018). More detailed local flood risk maps are useful to improve the management plans of the vulnerable electricity grid assets.

o  Methods / techniques to learn about impact on systems: Community based approach used to engage with all stakeholders resulted in new networks with electricity grid owners.

o  Methods / techniques community involvement: The challenge is to leverage the National Government to embed the knowledge gained into the spatial planning policies (personal communication pilot manager electricity grid, January 16th, 2019).

Main uncertainties and challenges encountered

o  (structural) barriers encountered through the implementation process:

  • Communicating low risks (low change, 1:4000) to stakeholders can be difficult at times. However, stakeholders were overwhelmed (specially the municipalities) about the cascading effects of electricity failure in areas that do not get flooded.
  • It is very important keep information confidential (via written agreements) when needed because that builds trust and increases the motivation and collaboration among partners.
  • It is extremely important to get the right people (power, knowledge, networks) actively involved right from the start of the project (personal communication pilot manager electricity grid, January 16th, 2019).

Dissemination and up-scaling of pilot results

  • The outcomes of this pilot were presented at meeting with all the electricity grid owners in the region. This can be a starting point to conduct similar studies in other parts of the country and increase collaboration in this field of expertise. Moreover, this knowledge was translated into policy advise for the National Government with the chance of being included in the Nationale Omgevingvisie 2021 (“Environmental vision”).
  • The electricity grid owners will consider the risk maps with the high risk labels in their asset management plan for the coming 3-4 years. The risk maps can be used to take decision about the most vulnerable assets (maintenance, reallocation, reconstruction, etc.) (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
  • Similar vulnerability studies for other vital services (telecom, gas) and other climate change effects (droughts) could be executed (interview with pilot manager, 2019).