Flood and drought risk assessment for agricultural areas (Tagus Estuary, Portugal)

Freire, Paula; Rodrigues, Marta; Fortunato, André B.; Freitas, Alberto

Estuaries are coastal systems particularly vulnerable to climate change. Within these systems, agriculture is one of the most potentially affected sectors. This paper proposes a risk assessment approach for helping the decision-making process at a local level, addressing two risks that affect agricultural areas located in estuarine margins: the unavailability of freshwater for irrigation resulting from the upstream propagation of estuarine brackish water during droughts and land inundation by high water levels associated with high tides and storm surges. For each risk, quantitative consequence descriptors are proposed to support risk level determination and evaluation through a continuous consequence–probability diagram. The approach applicability is discussed through its application to the Lezíria Grande de Vila Franca de Xira, located in the Tagus Estuary (Portugal). Results indicate that the approach is appropriate to support risk owners in taking actions to mitigate the risk. Examples of risk control measures for the risks addressed are presented. The main strengths of the proposed approach are its flexibility to be adapted to local conditions and updated through time, as well as the ease of its application by the risk owner.

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Freire, Paula / Rodrigues, Marta / Fortunato, André B. / et al: Flood and drought risk assessment for agricultural areas (Tagus Estuary, Portugal). 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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