Increasing numbers of people live in flood-prone areas worldwide. With continued development, flooding will become more frequent. Acceleration of the hydrological cycle and sea-level rise resulting from climate change could worsen the problem. We must therefore address the social, economic and political factors that force or allow some people to inhabit high-risk areas.
For example, monsoon flooding last year of Thailand's Chao Phraya River caused damage to Bangkok and surrounding areas estimated at US$45 billion. A failure to prepare for this recurrent hazard, which has occurred in each of the past four decades, is partly to blame.
Short-term engineering approaches are not enough. Building higher dykes or cascades of dual-purpose dams may maximize water storage and reduce flood risk, but they can make people complacent and thus more vulnerable to floods.
Long-term development solutions are needed. Vulnerable cities need to be redesigned, for example by supplying transport links to metropolitan areas on higher ground.
About this article
Urban pluvial flooding prediction by machine learning approaches – a case study of Shenzhen city, China
Advances in Water Resources (2020)
Assessment of Community Vulnerability to Different Types of Urban Floods: A Case for Lishui City, China
Quantifying precipitation extremes and their relationships with large‐scale climate oscillations in a tropical country, Singapore: 1980–2018
Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography (2020)
Assessment of extreme precipitation events and their teleconnections to El Niño Southern Oscillation, a case study in the Wei River Basin of China
Atmospheric Research (2019)