My Risk

Flood Risk (rbdh-hudson-20151924-what-is-flood-risk) encompasses a combination of the likelihood of a flood event occurring, the nature of the flood event, and the consequences of this flood event to humans and their environment. Therefore, there are several key criteria that you must look at when trying to ascertain your flood risk.

Flooding has multiple causes and not everyone is affected in the same way. People are more vulnerable when they lack the resources and/or knowledge necessary to inform effective action in increasing the capacity of their homes, other structures and their communities.

What do we mean when we speak of vulnerability and risk?

Vulnerability is a function of our exposure to flooding (the presence of human or environmental assets and services that could be adversely affected), our susceptibility (the physical characteristics which make an area likely to flood), and our resilience capacity (the ability to prepare for, react to and recover quickly from the damaging effect of realised hazards). (UNESCO-IHE)

Flood Risk is the product of that vulnerability and the total value of the assets that are exposed to flooding. These assets can be spiritual, environmental, social, personal and economic and may not carry a simple financial value.

UWTT in collaboration with several major stakeholders have identified key criteria that may help you to identify whether you are at a low, medium or high flood risk. You may be susceptible to flooding but, if you are adequately prepared, may still have a much lower risk.

Likelihood of a Flood Event

Floods have a multitude of causes and their frequency and intensity vary with time.
Flood Annual Probability refers to the measure of the chance of flooding occurring in a location over the course of one year. This will change depending on environmental conditions, land use change and changes in flood-weather events.

Nature of Flood Event

Floods also have an added dimension of floodwater depth, duration until the waters subside, and onset time from flood source to affected area which all comprise their intensity. Floodwater can also carry contaminants and have variable flow speeds. 

Consequences of Flood Event-

The consequences of flood events vary based on a person’s location, knowledge on what must be done to increase their capacity to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from a flood event, and their ability and willingness to bring to action this knowledge.


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Flood Risk Self-Analysis

This checklist covers key criteria that will help a person self-assess their flood risk. Please note that you will not be able to see your responses after you click submit; kindly use answer key to assess your risk prior to submitting the form.
    There are different types of flooding and flood causes. This is why flood mitigation measures in one area may not work for another. It is important that we understand why flooding occurs, the most likely types of flooding to affect us, and what can be done to reduce our vulnerability.
    Some key indicators which give us an idea of our vulnerability to flooding are the frequency and magnitude of previous flood events. When buying or building a home, you should enquire whether the area is a flood prone one and build and plan accordingly.
    Our initial assessment of flood risk is always subject to change due to external factors. Someone living in the same location for over 20 years without an occurrence of a flood event may gain an increased risk of flooding if there has been recent development in their area. It is therefore important to re-assess your flood risk on a periodic/annual basis
    Another indicator of our susceptibility to flooding lies in our location. Settlements in low lying areas within flood plains or adjacent to river banks or the coast are at higher risk for flooding. Settlements in highly urbanized areas with inadequate drainage are also at a higher risk.
    An important component of raising our capacity is our awareness of the warning and prediction measures in place for flood events. We must be vigilant and pay attention to weather alerts and also understand what actions are required for each alert level.
    Are you aware of flood mitigation measures which can increase you (and your family's) capacity? Without this knowledge, we will be unable to act effectively or efficiently in addressing our vulnerability to flooding.
    In some instances, we may be aware of what is required, but unable to act on this awareness for whatever reason, be it financial, time or health constraints. We must be able to identify the root causes of why we cannot act, and if these cannot be addressed, reach out to the relevant agencies for support.
    One of the key components to reducing vulnerability is in having a flood emergency plan. The knowledge of contact information for emergency first responders and for our families can go a long way in ensuring our (and their) safety.
    One of the key components to reducing vulnerability is in having a flood emergency plan. This plan will also contain the location of nearby emergency shelters and more than one route (in the event a route becomes impassable) to them.
    Flood resistance measures are designed to prohibit or slow the entrance of floodwaters. It may be a good idea to invest in these if your home is at high risk for flooding.
    Flood Resilience works hand in hand with flood resistance to greatly increase capacity. It is founded on the principle that, flooding is inevitably going to enter your home. This means that your home (and the contents within) should be adapted to incur as little flood damage as possible or be able to recover quickly following a flood event.
    An emergency flood kit is an essential tool to have to literally (and figuratively) weather the storm. You can find a list of the critical items needed on our site.
    Your financial/employment status both dictates your ability to increase capacity before a flood event as well as your ability to recover from any negative impact.
    This point is tied into the previous one on financial stability. You may indeed have a source of income but, if that source is directly or indirectly impacted by a flood event, you may not be able to rely on it as you used to. One such example is in the case of farmers whose crops are destroyed after flood events and who rely on those crops as their primary source of income.
    This is tied to flood resilience and emergency flood kit planning. It is wise to keep critical documents and valuables away from areas prone to flooding or at least protect them from the impact of floodwaters.
    Flood Insurance can be a cost effective way to recover from any major negative impacts of flooding.
    Having a strong family unit can increase capacity as members look out for one another and can financially contribute to resilience/resistance/recovery measures. However, if the family unit contains many dependents who are unable to increase capacity, this can increase vulnerability to all members and therefore special contingencies should be put in place to address this.
    Drainage systems are key in rerouting flood waters away from communities. They are the primary flood mitigation measure for highly urbanized areas; however, even if properly designed, drainage systems can become blocked with debris and garbage which severely reduces their capacity to control the flow of water.

Quiz Answer Key