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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 21, issue 6
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 3183–3198, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-3183-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 3183–3198, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-3183-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 29 Jun 2017

Research article | 29 Jun 2017

Flood risk perception and adaptation capacity: a contribution to the socio-hydrology debate

Sven Fuchs1, Konstantinos Karagiorgos1, Kyriaki Kitikidou2, Fotios Maris3, Spyridon Paparrizos4,a, and Thomas Thaler1 Sven Fuchs et al.
  • 1Institute of Mountain Risk Engineering, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
  • 2Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace, Orestiada, Greece
  • 3Department of Civil Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece
  • 4Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • anow at: LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Abstract. Dealing with flood hazard and risk requires approaches rooted in both natural and social sciences, which provided the nexus for the ongoing debate on socio-hydrology. Various combinations of non-structural and structural flood risk reduction options are available to communities. Focusing on flood risk and the information associated with it, developing risk management plans is required but often overlooks public perception of a threat. The perception of risk varies in many different ways, especially between the authorities and the affected public. It is because of this disconnection that many risk management plans concerning floods have failed in the past. This paper examines the private adaptation capacity and willingness with respect to flooding in two different catchments in Greece prone to multiple flood events during the last 20 years. Two studies (East Attica and Evros) were carried out, comprised of a survey questionnaire of 155 and 157 individuals, from a peri-urban (East Attica) and a rural (Evros) area, respectively, and they focused on those vulnerable to periodic (rural area) and flash floods (peri-urban area). Based on the comparisons drawn from these responses, and identifying key issues to be addressed when flood risk management plans are implemented, improvements are being recommended for the social dimension surrounding such implementation. As such, the paper contributes to the ongoing discussion on human–environment interaction in socio-hydrology.

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Short summary
Flood risk management often overlooks public perception of the hazard, and, therefore, many risk management plans have failed. This paper examines the private adaptation capacity and willingness with respect to flood hazards as one reason for this failure. Based on the results of our case studies in Greece, key issues to be addressed were identified and improvements are being recommended for the social dimension surrounding the implementation of flood risk management plans.
Flood risk management often overlooks public perception of the hazard, and, therefore, many risk...
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