Understanding the world-wide risk of flooding

Flooding is one of the most prevalent forms of natural hazard world-wide.  With most major cities  developed along the coastline or waterways, flood risk threatens more people than any other natural catastrophe.  With the advancement of catchment-scale flood modelling systems to a national-scale, and now global-scale, these risks are able to be analysed and projected into the future.  Scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute estimate that by 2025, the number of people living within 60 miles of a coast will rise by 35% compared to 1995 levels. Combining an analysis of global population data and JBA’s global flood mapping data, it is estimated that two billion people worldwide will be at risk of inland flooding by the year 2020. 

The international response

An ever increasing international response is being undertaken to understand and adapt to this growing flood risk.  In January the World Bank Group launched its Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience.  This funding will be rolled out at an average of $10bn for five years – with $50bn pledged between 2021-2025.  In addition to new river basin and flood management plans, the new adaptation strategies will include a move into flood warning systems – in particular the investment in higher quality forecasts, early warning systems and climate information services to better prepare 250 million people for extreme weather.

How does QLD compare

In line with the international community, the QLD government is delivering its own climate change adaptation planning through the QCoast2100 programme.  This programme is being over three years with an annual budget of $4m/yr.  This funding is being used for the development of new coastal risk mapping, and the preparation of plans and strategies to address climate change related coastal hazard risks over the long-term.