Implementation process

By looking at the the activities, actors and methods or approaches used, this section will provide a better understanding of the implementation process of the MLS approach. We will describe the point of departure, who was involved (when, why and how) and what key decisions were made when and why.

Point of departure of FRM strategies

Wesermarsch web final.png

Figure 1: Current and desired score to reach per layer in this pilot (Baseline monitor Wesermarsch, 2019).

To measure the impact of FRAMES on improving the flood resilience of pilot areas, communities and authorities both a baseline and final monitoring survey have been conducted. The surveys were completed by pilot managers in consultation with key pilot stakeholders. The baseline survey included questions about the actual situation in 2017 (before the project started) and expectations for 2020 (see figure 1). The final survey contained similar questions, but about the actual situation in 2020 and expected situation for 2025, five years after the pilot projects are finished. All the scores for both surveys along with an interpretation, can be found in chapter 8 of the Transnational Monitoring and Evaluation Report.

Stakeholders involved

As pilot coordinator, Jade University of Applied Sciences interacts with the following stakeholders (Klenke et al., 2018):

  • Disaster management organisations (all volunteer-based): the Rescue Brigade( DLRG), the Red Cross (DRK), the Technical Brigade (THW), the Fire Brigade (FF) and the Humanitarian Aid (Johanniter)
  • Disaster management government (Wesermarsch) - county level
  • Disaster management government (Butjadingen) - municipal level
  • Police in its function in disaster management
  • Training in disaster management (NABK)
  • Regional planning Government (Wesermarsch)
  • Dike boards (2) and water boards (6) (Wesermarsch)
  • Dike and soil union
  • Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr)
  • State Department for Waterway, Coastal and Nature Conservation: NLWKN (flood risk management)
  • Energy provider (EWE)
  • Veterinary authority
  • Police as local authority
  • Agricultural union (Landvolk)
  • Nports (an operator of public seaports in Lower Saxony)

There are six waterboards: Braker Sielacht, Entwasserungsverband Stedingen, Entwässerungsverband Jade, Entwässerungsverband Butjadingen, Stadlander Sielacht and Mooriem Ohmsteder Sielacht. All water boards together with two dike boards (I. Oldenburgischer Deichband and II. Oldenburgischer Deichband) are organised under one umbrella organisation, the ” Kreisverband Wesermarsch der Wasser- und Bodenverbände”. However, they generally decide individually on how to regulate water levels and flows within their respective areas. The executives of the boards are elected by the members and all land owners are compulsory members of the board. 

Roles of key actors

The main actors on water and disaster management (floods) in Germany, top-down:

  • National government – provides funding (for example for ‘Generalplan Küstenschutz’), sets out guidelines (e.g. national adaptation strategy), EU Floods Directive, implements the Water Framework Directive (WFD).
  • LAWA – (Bund/Länderarbeitsgemeinschaft Wasser): Working Group of the Federal States on Water Issues between the Federal and National level. Responsibility of the federal states. LAWA ensures an integration of all the federal states on FRM and WM issues. It is, however, a guideline, not legislation (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
  • Federal level (Lower Saxony) – very important level: Ministry of Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection. NLWKN is the executive water management agency/body of the ministry. It delivers the risk maps and risk management plans for the EU Floods Directive, strategic oversight of water management and coastal protection, responsible of checking dikes, the beaches etc. / engineering structures. The NLWKN is the executive body at the federal level, the arm of the Ministry (similar to Rijkswaterstaat in the Netherlands) (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
  • Regional / local level – first tier: counties (‘Landkreis’ and ‘kreisfreie Städte’) and second tier: municipalities (‘Städte und Gemeinden’) (administrative borders): planning, so also play an important role in disaster management (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Agencies for disaster management at local level (interview with pilot manager, 2019):

  • The Policy direction ('Polizeidirektion‘): the intermediate between county and federal level. The Policy direction coordinates activities between different counties (2,3 or 4; this depends on how the area is organized) in disaster management. They are responsible to organize back up forces to support the other forces in the county: the fire fighters, the German red cross, the military, and the police (interview pilot manager, 2019);
  • ‘Untere Katastrophenschutzbehörde’ (County Level);
  • Head of the County (‘Landrat’, on county level): takes the lead in case of an emergency or a catastrophe if the municipality cannot cope with it, and
  • Mayors (municipal level): a mayor is responsible of disaster management at the local level. The implementation of the EU Flood directive did not change the FRM structures nor the actors at the local level because the area considered in this pilot is smaller than a river catchment for management (interview pilot manager, 2019).

The administrative levels for disaster management are: local, county (municipalities), police direction, federal, national, EU.

Agencies for flood risk management and water management:

  • Dike boards (‘Deichverbände): responsible for dikes and dike reinforcements;
  • Water and soil boards / associations (‘Wasser- und Bodenverbände): corporations of the public right in the sense of the water association law, it’s a drainage association (interview with pilot manager, 2019). Responsible for pumping.
  • ‘Untere Wasserbehörde’: water authority on county level, regulatory authority for dike, water and soil boards.

The role of the stakeholders involved in the execution of this pilot are the following (interview with pilot manager, 2019):

  • The role of Jade University of Applied Sciences is to coordinate the pilot activities, gather information on disaster management and share it among all stakeholders. Moreover, Jade also develops useful products for the stakeholders. Overall, motivate stakeholders and change their mindset to take action further (after FRAMES).
  • The subcontracted consultancy “Küste und Raum” was key to contact stakeholders (government, administrations, volunteer organizations, sports, clubs and village organizations, administration, supermarkets, banks) in the Wesermarsch and the municipality of Butjadingen and, conduct with the Jade University the survey about risk awareness to citizens and conduct all pilot activities alongside Jade University.
  • The Red Cross is very active

in the project and responsible for two main activities: the development of the plan for individual preparedness and improve the organisation of volunteers during a disaster.

  • The farmers’ association of the County, the veterinaries and LAVES (state agency for food security) together with Jade University are responsible of developing an article for the farmers to assess their farm preparedness in case of a flooding.
  • NLWKN is the state agency on water management, coastal protection and nature conservation. It is responsible for flood protection, not drainage. It can provide a lot of data on flood risk (tools for risk calculation) in case of dyke breaching from previous projects. One person from the NLWKN is going to participate in the ’Flood partnership’ day and in providing spatial data for spatial planning.
  • Wesermarsch County: took the lead for the Katwarn app, an alert app (see and on collecting information on the availability of emergency power supply (”Notstrom”).

Main activities

The Federal Government adopted the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (Bundesregierung, 2008). The implementation of the EU Floods Directive according to federal states working group on water related issues (LAWA) is based on the holistic concept of risk management, including prevention, emergency management and aftercare. MLS is already considered as the base for flood risk management under a changing climate. Activities in FRAMES will emphasize the importance of focusing on the 2nd to 4th layer with the same priority as layer 1, fostering the integrative aspect.

The implementation steps and the activities in the Wesermarsch pilot are (interview with pilot manager, 2019):

  1. First contact with the key stakeholders from the region. Küste und Raum, the consultancy, contacted stakeholders from a previous project (Climate proof area). The networks of these actors were used to reach other actors in the Wesermarsch County (regional disaster management leader) and in Municipality of Butjadingen. The stakeholders from different organizations were contacted by phone, email, visits and interviews.
  2. First round of interviews with stakeholders from the key organizations in disaster management: dyke authority, drainage authority, head of the county (deputy). The purpose was to define the problems and the needs for the region.
  3. First Regional Forum, a workshop with all the stakeholders. The results of the interviews were presented to identify knowledge gaps, define and prioritize activities for the pilot phase. A total of six main activities/topics were selected and there is one manager for each activity. The six main activities selected are:
    • Organise a Flood risk awareness day;
    • Develop a plan for individual preparedness;
    • Improve risk maps for spatial planning;
    • Improve the organisations of volunteers during crisis management intervention;
    • Inform people about ’flood partnerships’, and
    • Link individual preparedness with an extra activity to improve the preparedness of farmers and their livestock.
  4. Citizens’ survey in the municipality of Butjadingen. The questionnaires were distributed and collected in different locations in the town (village organizations, administration, supermarkets, banks). The aim of the questionnaire was to get an insight from inhabitants about flood risk awareness, willingness to act, the importance of policy sectors, and included a personal risk assessment as well.
  5. Second round of interviews with a specific topic: get an insight about the willingness of the citizens to participate in Flood Risk Awareness day.
  6. A Second Regional Forum. The results of survey were: citizens rely very much on the authorities, thus they need to prepare themselves with the basics (water, light, radio) in case of emergency.
  7. Observations at the crisis management exercise organized by the County. The FRAMES team participated during the two day exercise looking at the procedure and the maps used. The results showed that the county has a comprehensive geodataset for the region but the maps used are not clear enough, mainly because the data was not used very well. Major data that are missing are detailed and realistic dyke break scenarios.
  8. Stakeholder excursion to the Netherlands was organized for Wesermarsch stakeholders. Practice partners visited their counterparts and Dutch pilots in Zeeland and South Holland. The exchange was very fruitful and opened the minds of the stakeholders.  
  9. A Third Regional Forum was on the preparation of the program of the flood awareness day (held on May 4th, 2019)
  10. The flood risk awareness day was successfully organized in May 2019 in the pilot area. More than 500 visitors were informed by the FRAMES partners and the practice partners about their work, flood risk management in general, possibilities of prevention and emergency management. 
  11. A Fourth Regional Forum was planned on ’flood partnerships’. Actors from existing flood partnerships will be invited to inform about the procedure and the purpose of such partnership. They can combine resources, exchange information across the river or the coast line and improve the current action plans (Flood risk management plan) for the whole area of interest (including municipalities and counties). The flood partnerships are transparent and participants in the partnership are willing to share their activities. This event exceeded the time frame of the FRAMES project and might be organized on behalf of the county later.
  12. The final pilot conference took place in November 2019. All the results of the pilot project have been presented. At the pilot conference, also the pilot brochure was presented and distributed which is used for raising awareness and education.