Re-evaluating safety risks of multifunctional dikes with a probabilistic risk framework
It is not uncommon for a flood defence to be combined with other societal uses as a multifunctional flood defence, from housing in urban areas to nature conservation in rural areas. The assessment of the safety of multifunctional flood defences is often done using conservative estimates. This study synthesizes new probabilistic approaches to evaluate the safety of multifunctional flood defences employed in the Netherlands and explores the results of these approaches. In this paper a case representing a typical Dutch river dike combining a flood safety function with a nature and housing function is assessed by its probability of failure for multiple reinforcement strategies considering multiple relevant failure mechanisms. Results show how the conservative estimates of multifunctional flood defences lead to a systematic underestimation of the reliability of these dikes. Furthermore, in a probabilistic assessment uncertainties introduced by multifunctional elements affect the level of safety of the dike proportional to the reliability of the dike itself. Hence, dikes with higher protection levels are more suitable to be combined with potentially harmful uses for safety, whereas dikes with low protection levels can benefit most from uses that contribute to safety.