What is a flood? Risk perceptions and decisions
Thursday, Dec 03, UTC 10:00 to 10:55
Organizer: World Bank (Urban Floods Community of Practice), NUS Lloyd’s Register Foundation Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk, NUS Deltares
|This session seeks to examine flood risk perception and its implications for decisions on prevention and preparedness. Flood risk perception is the assessment of the probability of hazard and the probability of results perceived by society and is a key aspect of flood risk management . The effective communication of risk is a precursor to improvements in risk data collection and analysis, and subsequent investment decisions. However, risk perception is an intervening factor between risk communication and risk mitigation actions at the community level. Decision-makers need to take risk perceptions into account to develop risk communication strategies to avoid underestimation of risk. Risk perception is also an important factor in risk-based planning and the prioritization of flood resilience measures, influencing the options available for flood risk management, such as insurance. Encouraging participatory decision-making can enable decision-makers to assess the acceptable level of risk that populations can bear and corresponding flood risk management interventions.|
Yet flood risk perceptions are subjective and varying. There are many stakeholders involved, each of whom may have a different interest, perception of risk, cultural attitude toward risk, language or vocabulary, and scientific literacy. For example, what are considered serious floods in a country or community with a low risk tolerance may be considered as mild inundation or temporary water logging in another. Within a country, rural and urban communities may also have different perceptions of the same event. This session therefore aims to explore the nuances in judgment of risk and trace their implications for flood risk management. It will discuss how decision-makers can take risk perception into account under conditions of uncertainty, assessing the acceptable level of risk for populations to bear.
The technical session will explore the following issues: the importance of flood risk perceptions in flood risk management; current attitudes and differing levels of tolerance to risk; challenges in identifying flood risk perceptions; assumptions underlying different risk perceptions; factors that influence risk perception; risk tolerance under climate uncertainty; risk communication and risk management strategies in light of risk perceptions.
 Lechowska, Ewa. “What determines flood risk perception? A review of factors of flood risk perception and relations between its basic elements.” Natural Hazards (2018) 94:13431-1366.