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The EU Floods Directive

What is flood risk management ?

Flood risk management aims to reduce the likelihood and/or the impact of floods. Experience has shown that the most effective approach is through the development of flood risk management programmes incorporating the following elements:

  • Prevention: preventing damage caused by floods by avoiding construction of houses and industries in present and future flood-prone areas; by adapting future developments to the risk of flooding; and by promoting appropriate land-use, agricultural and forestry practices;
  • Protection: taking measures, both structural and non-structural, to reduce the likelihood of floods and/or the impact of floods in a specific location;
  • Preparedness: informing the population about flood risks and what to do in the event of a flood;
  • Emergency response: developing emergency response plans in the case of a flood;
  • Recovery and lessons learned: returning to normal conditions as soon as possible and mitigating both the social and economic impacts on the affected population.

Source : COM(2004) 472 final of 12.7.2004.

Flood risk management is an integral part of integrated river basin management, and the Floods Directive shall therefore be coordinated with the Water Framework Directive.

Civil protection is also a crucial component of flood risk management.