The project

Due to climate change and socio-economic developments, river flooding will affect more people and cause a lot more damage as 2030 approaches. This is the picture that has emerged from the very first public analysis of river flood risks worldwide. Even now, an average of 21 million people a year suffer the consequences of river floods. The analysis was conducted using a new tool the ‘Aqueduct Global Flood Analyzer’ that was developed in 2014.

Aqueduct is a public web tool that shows the impact of river floods in terms of the impact on GNP, the local population and damage to cities. The consequences can be assessed for individual countries, provinces or catchments throughout the world. Users can see the changing impact through to 2030 as a result of climate change and socio-economic developments. They can also analyse how upgrading flood-protection arrangements can contribute to risk reduction.

Our role globally and the results

Deltares played a major role in the analysis of the data sets and we handled the flood simulations. Policymakers in the public and private sector can use this tool to include flood risks in their decisions about investments, spatial planning and flood protection. In this way, they will be able to limit catastrophic damage at an early stage. The risk analyses can be applied in a wide variety of ways.

The risk analyses can be applied in a wide variety of ways:

  • ​International development and financing organisations like the World Bank can prioritise investments in promising strategies for limiting flood risks and engage in discussions with governments about limiting their risks, and about the role of the climate and socio-economic factors.
  • Organisations involved in reducing disaster risks, such as the Red Cross and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and Recovery can evaluate the risk factors and monitor progress.
  • Insurance companies can make fast analyses of risks and the expected trends.
  • Multinationals can assess the risks and the possible increases in risk level for their manufacturing activities and supply chains throughout the world. The tool will be extended further in the future. In addition to river flooding, the risks of coastal flooding will be included and there will be an assessment of the feasibility and efficacy of approaches to preventing floods, such as dikes, water retention systems for emergency situations, the restoration of mangroves, sound land use and building regulations.

Deltares expert

Hessel Winsemius, expert floods

The Global Flood Analyzer makes complex data and a large chunk of our knowledge available in a straightforward way to non-scientists. The Analyzer transforms data into practical information and shows the risks for individual countries or areas, as well as any benefits that can be obtained with protection measures.

Philip Ward (left), Hessel Winsemius (right)