Strategic flood management: ten ‘golden rules’ to guide a sound approach

<p>Over recent decades, remarkable progress in cultivating the concepts of flood risk management has taken place across countries as diverse as India, China, Australia, the UK and the USA. This change highlights a risk management paradigm as potentially more complex than a more traditional standard-based approach as it involves ‘whole systems’ and ‘whole-life’ thinking; yet this is also its main strength – paving the way for more integrated and informed decision-making. Strategic flood management (SFM) uses a portfolio of responses to manage flood risks and promote opportunities ecosystem services. It recognizes the interrelationships between the actions taken and the contribution flood management provides to integrated river basin and coastal zone planning. The paper results from an international collaborative effort for research and distils approaches to flood risk and water management in challenging large-scale and complex environments. The paper provides an overview of the emerging good practice in SFM, including (i) an analysis of the flood events that have shaped changes in approach, (ii) the purpose and characteristics of modern SFM, (iii) the goals, objectives and outcomes sought and (iv) the challenges associated with implementation (together with some of the common pitfalls and misconceptions). Our conclusions are encapsulated in a set of ‘golden rules’ that underpin sound SFM decision-making.</p>