Project outcomes and beyond

Final Conference Wesermarsch big success

On the 27th of  November, 2019, the final conference of the German FRAMES pilot area Wesermarsch took place. More than 60 people attended the conference including politicians, stakeholder and research institutes. In the first part, the results and experiences of a Dutch pilot Alblasserwaard were presented by Lucy Smeets of the Province Zuid-Holland. Afterwards, a general overview of the results of FRAMES were given, followed by the specific results of the pilot Wesermarsch. During lunch time, the attendees had the chance to dive deeper into the results by visiting the Science Truck of the Jade University of Applied Science where an exhibition was set up about the FRAMES project in general and the results from the Wesermarsch pilot. The afternoon was reserved for the stakeholders which have been involved and engaged throughout the whole project. More than eight speakers gave their feedback on the achievements and experiences they had during the FRAMES project.

During the conference, the awareness rising brochure "Vorbereited sein!" ("Be prepared!”) was presented to the audience. Next to the results of the Wesermarsch pilot, it informs about flood risks in coastal regions, climate change issues, historic development of the pilot region and the concept of flood risk management in general. The brochure, in German, can be downloaded here.

Group photo of all the attendees of the final conference of the German FRAMES Pilot Wesermarsch.

Specific outcomes

  • The posters and presentation about the survey, protocols of the meetings
  • Three publications in a national magazine on water and waste: Wasser & Abfall. The target group are the practitioners in Germany (the water boards, the water administration).
    • On the survey in 2018 (Ahlhorn, F., Kebschull, J., Bormann, H. (2018): Risikowahrnehmung und Informationsbedarfe der Bevölkerung über die Auswirkungen des Klimawandels auf Hochwasser und Sturmfluten. Wasser und Abfall 20(11), 44-51);
    • On the flood risk awareness day in 2019 (Bormann, H., Kebschull, J., Ahlhorn, F. (2019): FRAMES Hochwasserschutztag in der Wesermarsch. Wasser und Abfall 21(6), 49-50.);
    • On the flood risk prevention option of farmers in 2019 (Kebschull, J., Bormann, H., Ahlhorn, F. (2019): Handlungsoptionen landwirtschaftlicher Betriebe im Hochwasserrisikomanagement in Küstengebieten. Wasser und Abfall 21(12), 15-21.)
  • A data base with geodata for spatial planning can be shared through a CD. This data base can be used for the selection of evacuation, plans, elevation models, flooding situations.
  • A 7-page article (in German) informing farmers about the problem analysis and what they can do; a guideline / checklist (is your farm elevated, do you have extra energy power) to assess if they are prepared or not and what to do if they are not prepared.
  • A final brochure summarizing all the activities and the general situation in the Wesermarsch County  including all maps developed for the region
  • A colleague of Jade University together with students has generateda website on the flood risk topic where they upload movies which (also related to FRAMES),  booklets to improve flood risk awareness of children.
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Rural-urban drainage conceptual report. Draw conclusions from reports provided by the OOWV.

Process results

  • Events: regional fora on ’flood partnerships’ and flood awareness and a pilot end conference
  • Increased collaboration among stakeholders from disaster management and water management authorities. The stakeholders are very active and open to meet, discuss and share information. This one of the biggest accomplishments of the project.
  • Good organisation and planning of the activities among the stakeholders
  • Increase knowledge/information about disaster management organisations and responsibilities for all stakeholders, especially Jade University lead of the pilot
  • Increase awareness of citizens about flood risk and self-preparedness. 
  • Follow up actions on new project activities on evacuation options of health care facilities, led by the Germen Red Cross. 
  • Farmers improved the external power supply on their own initiative already during the project lifetime of FRAMES.

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

Flood risk management strategies (FRMS)

Flood risk governance in Germany is very diverse, with a main focus on defence. There are multiple sectors involved and integrated via spatial planning. Flood management is carried out by the central state together with the federal states. The national and federal governments give guidance to the local level authorities (Buijs et al., 2018, Bormann et al., 2013). The table below shows the FRM strategies that were considered before, during and after FRAMES.

Layers of MLS Before FRAMES During FRAMES After FRAMES
1 Flood protection Hard infrastructure (dikes and pumping stations) High attention given in this pilot.
  • Dikes, dams, barriers, locks
  • Sluice gates, pumps
  • Drainage structure

(interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Will remain high priority (increase dike security set out in Generalplan Küstenschutz).

No changes as a result of FRAMES (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

2 Spatial adaptation Some attention given in this pilot.
  • Identify flood prone areas in coastal regions and install building restrictions
  • Possible outcome of FRAMES: integrated rural-urban drainage management (by the end of 2019)
  • Recommend building restrictions  based on the identified flood prone areas in coastal regions and
  • Integrated rural-urban drainage management (by the end of 2019)
3 Preparedness and response Low to middle attention given in this pilot.
  • Flood warnings (done by NLWKN, BSH, WSA)
  • Existing disaster management
  • Existing evacuation route (but for nuclear disasters, not flooding)
  • Actors are expected to continue with similar activities within their own agenda.
  • Use and implement the tailor made materials
4 Resilient recovery Low attention given in this pilot.
  • People depend on private insurance
  • In case of national disasters recovery is supported by donations
Low attention given in this pilot.
  • People depend on private insurance
  • In case of national disasters, recovery is supported by donations
No changes in flood recovery as result  of FRAMES (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Lessons learnt so far

Knowledge needs for flood resilience:

  • The responsibilities on water and disaster management on governmental level are very clear in Germany. There is a clear guide on what to do in case of emergency (Niedersächsisches Katastrophenschutzgesetz, Feuerwehr-Dienstvorschrift 100)
  • Public preparedness needs improvement and structure, there is no judicial basis on this topic, there are suggestions from the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) on topics like the electricity failure, evacuation or food storage
  • There is no information on livestock evacuation if flooding occurs in farms. This resulted in a need to increase the individual preparedness of farmers and save their farms and livestock. It also resulted in improving the risk maps used in emergency planning exercises.
  • Responsibility of authorities in risk planning is clear. Jade University figured out which authorities are responsible for disaster management and when they should act. Thus, there is a need to increase the awareness of citizens and everyone on who should act and what to do in case of a disaster.
  • There is a lack of capacity to develop materials for increasing the risk awareness of citizens and provide them knowledge on who is responsible for what (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Knowledge needs related to content:

  • Applying MLS technique: Reach more balanced flood risk management strategies in the Wesermarsch region (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
  • Methods / techniques / tools applied to learn about vulnerabilities: Risk maps and questionnaires were applied to learn about the vulnerability of farmers and livestock to floods. This resulted in developing informative materials to reach everyone: brochures, flyers, web publications, booklet, stakeholders analysis, events (flood partnership and flood risk awareness days) (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
  • Methods / techniques community involvement: Participatory approach of contingency planning involving authorities and aid organisations: meetings, phone calls, emails, questionnaires, events, workshops. Actors were involved from the beginning of the project, goals and prioritized solutions
    were developed toge

ther based on their needs.

Some of the actors took the lead to implement the selected activities (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Main uncertainties and challenges encountered

  • Jade University, the pilot manager, was not an expert on crisis management in Germany. Thus, the team had to learn about the topic to talk the same language as the other actors from crisis management authorities.
  • Not clear which authorities are responsible for risk planning at County level for certain topics, such as farms and livestock.
  • Lack of flood risk awareness among the citizens living behind the dyke
  • Not detailed risk maps used during the emergency management exercises
  • It was a struggle to get NLWKN on board, the state agency of Lower Saxon State Department for Waterway, Coastal and Nature Conservation.

Knowledge needs related to in the decision making process of adaptive planning

  • (structural) barriers encountered through the implementation process:
    • A long list of ’things to be done’ resulted from the first meeting with the actors where the problems and solutions of the area were discussed. The most feasible actions were selected in Working Groups considering the lifetime and financial possibilities of the project. Stakeholders were divided in small groups to discuss and prioritize the different activities related to awareness raising, technical solutions, cooperation activities. A priority list was made and leaders for each activity were selected from the volunteers offered. A list of six actions were selected, three were led by Jade University and the other three by other actors.
    • Motivating actors, gathering information and planning events takes time. As a result, collaboration among stakeholders from disaster and water management increased. This is considered to be one of the most valuable accomplishments in this pilot.

Dissemination and up-scaling of pilot results

Approach the right actors in water and disaster management in the region and motivate them to take actions at local level. Thus, the up-scaling of the pilot results depends on individual stakeholders who can take the lead. All stakeholders can be multipliers assuming that they are interested, motivated, convinced.

Transnational exchange

What can the countries learn from each other considering the different layers of MLS approach?

  • Protection: Not the main focus of this pilot
  • Pro-action/prevention: Get input for the decision making of urgency and costs of measures for prevention/pro-action of critical infrastructure from the pilots in the Netherlands: Flood Proof Electricity Grid Zeeland (Kloosterzande) and Sloe area (FRR, 2018)
  • Preparedness & response: Share knowledge on emergency response (evacuation route and emergency planning) with the Dutch pilots in Alblasserwaard, Flood Proof Electricity Grid Zeeland and Sloe area, and on risk communication /capacity building (among authorities, businesses and citizens) in the UK with the pilot in Kent and in Belgium with the pilot in Ninove. The stakeholders from the Wesermarsch region have exchanged knowledge and experiences from their pilots during a visit to Zeeland in February 2019.
  • Recovery: Share knowledge on flood recovery from the three pilots in Denmark.