Economic assessment of precautionary measures against floods: insights from a non-contextual approach

Richert, Claire; Boisgontier, Hélène; Grelot, Frédéric

To limit the losses due to floods, public authorities can try to foster the adoption of private measures aimed at reducing the vulnerability of dwellings. However, the efficacy and cost-efficiency of such measures to reduce material losses are not well-known. In particular, the influence of building and flood characteristics on these variables has not been thoroughly studied. A better understanding of this topic would help identify the measures that are relevant to implement in specific contexts. To address this gap, we examined the effect of building and flood characteristics on the cost, efficacy, and cost-efficiency of three groups of measures taken for existing dwellings: one consists of elevating the dwelling, one of dry proofing it, and one of using construction materials that are resistant to water or cheap to repair or replace. We combined expert judgement and computer modelling to assess their cost, efficacy, and cost-efficiency for a wide range of flood depths and durations, building characteristics, and levels of exposure. We found that the value of the building components has a positive effect on the efficacy of dry proofing and elevating a dwelling. Both the efficacy and cost of these two groups of measures increase with the size of the dwelling. Moreover, according to our results, dry proofing and elevating a dwelling are unlikely to be cost-efficient for dwellings that are not exposed to floods with a return period lower than 100 and 30 years, respectively. Our findings also highlight that it is often less expensive to use the adapted than the original materials when rebuilding a damaged dwelling. Moreover, adapting the materials of an intact dwelling is unlikely to be cost-efficient for dwellings that are not exposed to floods with a return period lower than 20 years. Our results apply to France because the damage and the installation costs of the measures are specific to France and the geometry of the dwellings considered to perform our analyses is based on French dwellings.

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Richert, Claire / Boisgontier, Hélène / Grelot, Frédéric: Economic assessment of precautionary measures against floods: insights from a non-contextual approach. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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