In these heady days of high temperatures and water shortages it’s difficult to think of the ever present threat of coastal flooding. As West Cork residents and businesses know only too well coastal flooding damages not only buildings and engineering structures, but also the environment and the ecological balance.
Thanks to a European Union (EU)-funded initiative, namely the THESEUS project, there is now a one-stop-shop whereby flooding risks may be identified at different time scales – from one year to 100 years.
The new THESEUS Decision Support System (DSS) is a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tool. “This tool will help decision makers input all the conditions they are dealing with so the short, medium and long-term effects of building or developing within coastal communities could be identified,” says THESEUS project coordinator, Barbara Zanuttigh, Assistant Professor at University of Bologna, Italy.
The tool enables developers, builders and local authorities to minimise coastal risks and take into account physical and non-physical drivers such as climate change, subsidence (undermining and sinking of land due to flooding), population and economic growth. “The THESEUS DSS is intended as a vehicle for communication, training, forecasting and experimentation,” adds Zanuttigh.
In addition to the DSS tool, a guidelines book, compiled by the project team, will assist coastal managers in the application of THESEUS methodology for coastal risk assessment and in the selection and design of mitigation options. The policy briefs developed are expected to support decision makers by identifying weaknesses and strengths of the existing policies and the key challenges to be addressed.
Last, but not least, the information booklets, also produced by the THESEUS team, “aim to raise the general public’s awareness regarding the scale of the risks involved and help towards a more sustainable future,” concludes Zanuttigh.