Water Resources Management

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 2505–2522 | Cite as

Multi-criteria Approach for Selection of Green and Grey Infrastructure to Reduce Flood Risk and Increase CO-benefits

  • Alida Alves
  • Berry Gersonius
  • Arlex Sanchez
  • Zoran Vojinovic
  • Zoran Kapelan


Continuous changes in climate conditions combined with urban population growth pose cities as one of the most vulnerable areas to increasing flood risk. In such an atmosphere of growing uncertainty, a more effective flood risk management is becoming crucial. Nevertheless, decision-making and selection of adequate systems is a difficult task due to complex interactions between natural, social and built environments. The combination of green (or sustainable) and grey (or traditional) options has been proposed as a way forward to ensure resilience in advance of extreme events, and at the same time to obtain co-benefits for society and the environment. The present paper describes a novel method for selection of urban flood measures, based on a multi-criteria analysis that includes flood risk reduction, cost minimization and enhancement of co-benefits. The aim of this method is to assist decision makers in selecting and planning measures, which afterwards can be part of either high level scoping analysis or more complex studies, such as model based assessment. The proposed method is implemented within a tool which operates as a standalone application. Through this tool, the method has been applied in three study cases. The findings obtained indicate promising potential of the method here introduced.


Decision-making Green-grey infrastructure Urban flooding Co-benefits Multi-criteria analysis 



The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant agreement n° 603663 for the research project PEARL (Preparing for Extreme And Rare events in coastaL regions). The study reflects only the authors' views and the European Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Engineering and Water TechnologyIHE-DelftDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Water EngineeringIHE-DelftDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre for Water Systems, College of EngineeringUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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