Water Resources Management

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 4127–4142 | Cite as

Assessing Stability and Dynamics in Flood Risk Governance

An Empirically Illustrated Research Approach
  • Dries L. T. Hegger
  • Peter P. J. Driessen
  • Carel Dieperink
  • Mark Wiering
  • G. T. Tom Raadgever
  • Helena F. M. W. van Rijswick


European urban agglomerations face increasing flood risks due to urbanization and the effects of climate change. These risks are addressed at European, national and regional policy levels. A diversification and alignment of Flood Risk Management Strategies (FRMSs) can make vulnerable urban agglomerations more resilient to flooding, but this may require new Flood Risk Governance Arrangements (FRGAs) or changes in existing ones. While much technical knowledge on Flood Risk Management is available, scientific insights into the actual and/or necessary FRGAs so far are rather limited and fragmented. This article addresses this knowledge gap by presenting a research approach for assessing FRGAs. This approach allows for the integration of insights from policy scientists and legal scholars into one coherent framework that can be used to identify Flood Risk Management Strategies and analyse Flood Risk Governance Arrangements. In addition, approaches for explaining and evaluating (shifts in) FRGAs are introduced. The research approach is illustrated by referring to the rise of the Dutch risk-based approach called ‘multi-layered safety’ and more specifically its application in the city of Dordrecht. The article is concluded with an overview of potential next steps, including comparative analyses of FRGAs in different regions. Insights in these FRGAS are crucial to enable the identification of action perspectives for flood risk governance for actors at the level of the EU, its member states, regional authorities, and public-private partnerships.


Flood risk management strategies Europe Dordrecht Resilience Legitimacy Efficiency Effectiveness Flood risk governance arrangements 



This paper has been written in the framework of the European Union’s Seventh Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration within the STAR-FLOOD project. This research has received funding from the European Commission under grant agreement no. 308364. We would also like to thank the participants of the STAR-FLOOD consortium workshop in Amsterdam on 12 February 2013 which contributed to a refinement of the approach presented in this paper, Ellen Kelder and Berry Gersonius for their detailed insights on flood risk governance in Dordrecht, Ton Markus for producing the figure illustrating Dordrecht’s vulnerability to flooding as well as Tina New stead for her language corrections.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dries L. T. Hegger
    • 1
  • Peter P. J. Driessen
    • 1
  • Carel Dieperink
    • 1
  • Mark Wiering
    • 2
  • G. T. Tom Raadgever
    • 3
  • Helena F. M. W. van Rijswick
    • 4
  1. 1.Environmental Governance, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable DevelopmentUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department Geography, Planning and Environment, Group Political Sciences of the EnvironmentRadboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Management Research (IMR)NijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Grontmij Nederland BV, Division Transportation & Mobility, Department of Hydraulic Construction, Team Coastal and RiversDe BiltThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht School of LawUtrechtThe Netherlands

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