The value of citizen science for flood risk reduction: cost–benefit analysis of a citizen observatory in the Brenta-Bacchiglione catchment

Ferri, Michele; Wehn, Uta; See, Linda; Monego, Martina; Fritz, Steffen

Citizen observatories are a relatively recent form of citizen science. As part of the flood risk management strategy of the Brenta-Bacchiglione catchment, a citizen observatory for flood risk management has been proposed and is currently being implemented. Citizens are involved through monitoring water levels and obstructions and providing other relevant information through mobile apps, where the data are assimilated with other sensor data in a hydrological–hydraulic model used in early warning. A cost–benefit analysis of the citizen observatory was undertaken to demonstrate the value of this approach in monetary terms. Although not yet fully operational, the citizen observatory is assumed to decrease the social vulnerability of the flood risk. By calculating the hazard, exposure and vulnerability of three flood scenarios (required for flood risk management planning by the EU Directive on Flood Risk Management) with and without the proposed citizen observatory, it is possible to evaluate the benefits in terms of the average annual avoided damage costs. Although currently a hypothetical exercise, the results showed a reduction in avoided damage of 45 % compared to a business as usual scenario. Thus, linking citizen science and citizen observatories with hydrological modelling to raise awareness of flood hazards and to facilitate two-way communication between citizens and local authorities has great potential in reducing future flood risk in the Brenta-Bacchiglione catchment. Moreover, such approaches are easily transferable to other catchments.

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Ferri, Michele / Wehn, Uta / See, Linda / et al: The value of citizen science for flood risk reduction: cost–benefit analysis of a citizen observatory in the Brenta-Bacchiglione catchment. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Michele Ferri et al.

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