Moving Forward: Addressing Difficult Decisions
Even if all flood risks can be identified and measured — a formidable task — there are decisions that require placing flood risks in economic, social, and fiscal context. Without unlimited resources, trade-offs are often required, and it is a lucky decision-maker who is confronted with the opportunity to make a small investment and reap benefits across a broad variety of interests and categories, such that every sector is better of than it was previously and all unanimously support the way forward.
Funds are often limited and a limiting factor on what can be accomplished to reduce flood risks. For those using concepts of tolerable risk, there may be wider gap between current conditions and tolerable risk than can be bridged by available funds. How should those limited funds be expended? For those buying down residual risks, how should those costs and actions be shared among partners? What happens if some partners are not able to contribute as expected? Are all aspects of flood risk management quantifiable, and if not, how should quantifiable and non-quantifiable aspects be addressed in decision-making? In considering the balance between physical infrastructure and other diverse approaches, which should be considered first and why? How are lifecycle considerations taken into account in a risk-informed decision-making environment? Are flood reduction structures ever truly retired? How should prioritization be accomplished? Are these political decisions primarily? If it doesn't serve to reduce the total risk, should any funds be expended?
Panelists explored these and other questions related to achieving actual implementation of flood risk management concepts and analysis.
revised 18 Feb 2011