Chap. 5 Structural and Non-structural Methods

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Chapter Summary


This chapter discusses key structural and non-structural methods for flood risk management. The IFM approach in flood risk management (see chapter 3) goes beyond just implementing hard or soft methods; it includes the entire process of carefully selecting and carrying out the best combination of engineering and natural/nature-based structural and non-structural methods.

[cml_media_alt id='1901']methods table[/cml_media_alt]
Floods happen in a watershed - an area with a variety of intrinsically connected geological, ecological and social components. The success of flood risk management methods depends on their suitability to the nature of the intended interventions, the scale of the intervention, and where in the watershed they are applied.

Table 5.1 gives a framework of selected flood risk management methods based on the type and level of the intended interventions. Typically, flood risk management objectives broadly fall into three categories based on the nature of interventions:

Table 5.1 identifies which methods are applicable to these categories. Flooding has consequences at multiple levels, including national/regional, watershed, floodplain, community and household. Therefore, methods should be selected based on the specific requirements at different scales
(see fig. 5.2).

The Flood Green Guide recommends managers first apply IFM non-structural methods and then, if needed, include structural (hard and or soft) methods as part of an integrated approach. Guide users should note that rarely, if ever, will the use of a single flood management method be helpful. Managers should select methods that will enhance the efficacy of any existing flood risk management methods.

The remainder of this chapter is structured as follows:

Sections 5.2 and 5.3 introduce selected structural and non-structural flood risk management methods, briefly describing important design considerations. Section 5.4 discusses the applicability of different methods based on the flood type and location in the watershed. Sections 5.5 and 5.6 discuss the important considerations in implementation, operation and closure. Section 5.7 compares the benefits of combining different hard and soft methods. Section 5.8 provides guiding information for cost and resource requirements for different methods. Section 5.9 provides an overview of monitoring and evaluation of flood risk management projects.

The guide does not provide specific technical guidance on tasks required in the design and implementation of these methods, such as hydrological studies, feasibility studies, environmental assessment, comprehensive engineering/bioengineering design, cost analysis, project appraisal or construction management. These tasks are specific to the local context and follow established scientific methods; therefore, the guide user should involve a multidisciplinary team, as may be required for the local context, to plan a specific flood risk management project and acquire specialized expertise. The guide will assist the user to identify the expertise and resources required for some of these tasks.


Additional Resources


Steve Adair et al., Management and Techniques for Riparian Restorations: Roads Field Guide, (Fort Collins, CO: US Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2002).

Philip Roni and Tim Beechie (eds.), Stream and Watershed Restoration: A Guide to Restoring Riverine Processes and Habitats (West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), A Handbook of Constructed Wetlands, vol. 1.

W.J. Mitsch and J.G Gosselink, Wetlands (Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley and Sons, 2007).

W.J. Mitsch and S.E. Jorgensen, Ecological Engineering and Ecosystem Restoration (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2004).

D. Butler and J.W. Davies, Urban Drainage. 2nd ed. (New York, London: Spon Press, 2004). (Also see the third edition published in 2011).

D.H. Gray and R.B Sotir, Biotechnical and Soil Bioengineering Slope Stabilization: A Practical Guide for Erosion Control (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1996).

Lewis L., Soil Bioengineering, an Alternative for Roadside Management: A Practical Guide (San Dimas, California: USDA, 2000).

H.C. Pereira, Policy and Practice in the Management of Tropical Watersheds (London: Westview Press, 1989).
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