Need and Importance of Flood Risk Assessment

By Amol Kotkar

Floods are natural occurring processes that are difficult to prevent but can be managed in order to reduce its social and economical impacts. Flooding is a threat to life and leads to damage of property. It is therefore very important that flooding risks be taken into account during any planning process. There are areas that are more susceptible to flooding than others. Poor infrastructure of the drainage system contributes to even more flooding risks. This therefore calls for proper planning especially for any proposals of development in areas that are prone to flooding. This ensures that flooding is taken into account in development plans and in determination of the applications.

Good planning and management can help in curbing the risks of flooding. In simple terms, flood risk assessment is an assessment of the various risks in relational to residential, industrial and commercial land uses. It is a requirement as part of any planning application for larger sites (normally over 1ha) for development especially in areas that are located in flood-prone areas. The assessment can also be used by insurers to act as a way of reducing premiums in insurance.

Flood risk assessment considers the impacts of flooding and how the proposed development project may affect the area. In addition, the assessment includes a recommendation on how the flooding risks can be improved after the development. Moreover, the assessment provides details on other sources of floods such as fluvial flooding, groundwater and surface runoff. This is an important factor in order to implement strategies to cope up with any source of flooding in the proposed development site. These strategies help in that they reduce the vulnerability of the area to flooding.

In normal circumstances, it is a government’s policy requirement that development and flood risk assessment be carried out. In most countries, environment agencies require that areas prone to flooding (Flood Zones two or three) submit their flood risk assessment along with their planning application.

The flood risk assessment requires information on the development of the area; existing and the proposed development information. This is important in determining whether the proposal will be allowed to proceed or not.

It is therefore the responsibility of the development proposers to undertake the assessment in order to comply with Environment Agency guidelines and in addition to avoid any flood risks. The assessment ensures that future risks caused by floods are avoided or can be managed and dealt with in good time and in an affordable way. The assessment is also, like an analysis that provides not only recommendations but also includes the management of the risks posed by floods. Some consultancy firms like who provide high quality, efficient FRA services to the general public and corporations of all sizes.

Clearly, there are many benefits of flood risk assessment. Whether the application is for a major commercial purpose, individual development purposes, industrial or even small extension of your residential land, assessment is inevitable!