HS1.1.3 | Approaches, technical perspectives, and nature-based solutions for resilience to floods and droughts
Approaches, technical perspectives, and nature-based solutions for resilience to floods and droughts
Convener: Lea AugustinECSECS | Co-conveners: Diego PaniciECSECS, Lara Speijer, Rudy Rossetto, Alan Puttock, Scott Ketcheson, Roger AusterECSECS

Global climate change causes an increasing frequency and intensity of floods and droughts. Both are strongly linked and have the potential to reinforce each other. Floods and droughts cover the entire hydrological spectrum and share many similarities and links between the two types of extremes. Nevertheless, management strategies and technical compensation and mitigation measures are often thought only from one side of the extreme, like flood retention basins releasing the stored flood water within days instead of keeping it in the region. With the significant environmental, social and economic cost associated with such extremes, there is an increasing need for sustainable catchment management strategies that attenuate flow regimes, minimising the risk of flooding and ensuring a sustainable water supply and ecosystem resilience during drought periods.

This session addresses nature-based and technical strategies to mitigate the effects of hydrological extremes on the local water balance.

Nature-based solutions at the catchment scale work with or are inspired by nature to restore the natural functioning of our anthropogenically modified landscapes, providing both greater hydrological resilience to extreme events but critically also a host of additional benefits, particularly for biodiversity, climate, and society. As the popularity of nature-based solutions increases, trans-disciplinary research is required to: (1) determine what constitutes a nature-based solution; (2) maximise the effectiveness of such solutions and how they can be implemented alongside existing water management strategies; and (3) consider the social factors that are inherent in the successful implementation of nature-based solutions, overcoming the conflicts or barriers that may otherwise be associated with their implementation.

Technical solutions like managed aquifer recharge, mainly when applied in drinking water catchments, are often turned off during flooding events due to suspected contamination risks to the aquifer. In contrast, successful management of regional water resources seems to require approaches, tools, and management strategies that combine flood protection and drought prevention techniques, i.e., water retention, treatment, and infiltration in subsurface storage systems (ideally aquifers) for long-term, high-quality uses.