EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A conflict between traditional flood measures and maintaining river ecosystems. A case study in river Lærdal, Norway

Ana Juárez1, Knut Alfredsen1, Morten Stickler2,3, Ana Adeva-Bustos4, Sonia Seguín-Garcia1, Bendik Hansen4, and Rodrigo Suarez5
Ana Juárez et al.
  • 1NTNU, Engineering, Civil and Environmental engineering, Trondheim, Norway (
  • 2The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate NVE
  • 3The University of South East Norway
  • 5Multiconsult

Floods are among the most damaging natural disasters which are likely to increase with the effects of climate change and changes in land use. Therefore, rivers have been the focus of engineering for establishing structural flood mitigation measures. Traditional flood infrastructure, such as levees and dredging have threatened floodplains and river ecosystems and during the last decade, sustainable reconciliation of freshwater ecosystems is increasing. However, we still find many areas where these traditional measures are proposed and it is challenging to find tools for evaluations of different measures and quantification of the possible impacts. We propose the use of hydraulic modelling and remote sensing data for evaluation of different flood strategies and quantification of changes in hydraulic parameters in an ecological scale. This is applied in Lærdal River, in Norway, a national salmon river specially recognized by its environment for Atlantic salmon, where the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) has proposed l flood measures that include confinement with walls and dredging in the riverbed. Results show that the constructing a higher wall could avoid dredging in the river bed resulting in a most cost-effective solution. Dredging could improve hydraulic conditions for juvenile salmon if applied as river restoration measure but channelization of the river would have big impacts in the river ecosystem.

How to cite: Juárez, A., Alfredsen, K., Stickler, M., Adeva-Bustos, A., Seguín-Garcia, S., Hansen, B., and Suarez, R.: A conflict between traditional flood measures and maintaining river ecosystems. A case study in river Lærdal, Norway, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9838,, 2021.