Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 841–853 | Cite as

Evolving inter-regional co-operation in flood risk management: distances and types of partnership approaches in Austria

  • Thomas A. ThalerEmail author
  • Sally J. Priest
  • Sven Fuchs
Original Article


Flood risk management and policy in Europe are changing, so the role of local and catchment-wide flood risk management plans is now key contemporary issues in flood policy. A new policy agenda is to enhance inter-local solutions instead of local flood alleviation schemes. This paper analyses the new role of those local authorities and stakeholders in flood risk management as well as how the nature of the partnerships is established and operated, focusing especially on the main barriers and challenges. This paper examines catchment-based flood risk management in Austria. Catchment-based flood risk management was analysed in three different Austrian regions (Aist in Upper Austria, Triesting-Tal in Lower Austria and Ill-Walgau in Vorarlberg). The current functions of a partnership approach in flood risk prevention lie within the selection of sites for conservation of regionally important retention areas, harmonising spatial planning instruments and awareness-raising for protective measures on an inter-local level. The empirical results are currently characterised by a lack of sufficient co-operation between the members as well as with the regional authorities. The three case studies show different backgrounds and developments. The results show that the inter-local co-operation process is in no cases fully achieved. Some of the case studies show a higher integration in one field than others.


Partnership Flood risk management Governance Institutional arrangements Decision-making Responsibility sharing 



The research leading to these results has received funding from the JPI-Climate project TRANS-ADAPT funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW), the French National Research Agency (ANR), the Ireland Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and Middlesex University, London. Furthermore, the authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas A. Thaler
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sally J. Priest
    • 1
  • Sven Fuchs
    • 2
  1. 1.Flood Hazard Research CentreMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of Mountain Risk EngineeringUniversity of Natural Resources and Life SciencesViennaAustria

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