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The meaning of system robustness for flood risk management
Mens, M.J.P.; Klijn, F.; de Bruijn, K.M.; van Beek, E. (2011). The meaning of system robustness for flood risk management. Environ. Sci. Policy 14(8): 1121-1131.
In: Environmental Science & Policy. Elsevier: Exeter. ISSN 1462-9011, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    System robustness; Flood risk; Resilience; Vulnerability; Regime shift

Authors  Top 
  • Mens, M.J.P., more
  • Klijn, F.
  • de Bruijn, K.M., more
  • van Beek, E.

    This paper explores how the concept of robustness can be defined and made operational for flood risk management. Decision making about taking actions to reduce the flood risk is complicated by uncertainties about the current and future flood probabilities and impacts. Because decision makers are increasingly aware of uncertainties, new decision-making approaches are being explored. Among other concepts, robustness is put forward by decision makers in the Netherlands as a way to deal with uncertainties. However, they cannot specify what makes a system more robust. This paper defines robustness as the ability of a system to remain functioning under disturbances, where the magnitude of the disturbance is variable and uncertain. We present a conceptual framework for analysing system robustness, and we suggest how the robustness of flood risk systems can be quantified. The ideas are tested on the Westerschelde flood risk system in the Netherlands. This case shows that analysing system robustness provides additional insight into the effect of flood risk reduction measures on system behaviour.

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