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Implications of cascading effects for the EU Floods Directive

Author(s): Gianluca Pescaroli; Michael Nones

Linked Author(s): Michael Nones

Keywords: Cascading effect; Cascading disasters; Critical infrastructures; European Union; Floods Directive; Flood risk management

Abstract: The adoption of the European Floods Directive (2007/60/EC) represented a crucial improvement in the management of watercourses and coastlines. However, the beginning of a new phase of implementation requires the assessment of which emerging topics may be included in the review process. The aim of our research is to understand the existence of any legislative gaps that could limit the preparedness to cascading events and critical infrastructures breakdowns. First, we provide a review of the Floods Directive, the cascading phenomena and the vulnerability of critical infrastructures in the European legislation. Secondly, we analyse some case studies to test the present approach and to improve the work of decision makers. Our results suggest that the Floods Directive tends to focus on localized flood impacts at smaller time scale and it could be ineffective to address the cross-scale impact of cascading events. Although some of the corrective actions may not be of competence of the Directive, we argue that their inclusion could limit uncertainties in the attribution of responsibilities and the coordination among different institutional levels.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15715124.2016.1149074

Year: 2016

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