Climate Change and Flood Risk Management

Climate Change and Flood Risk Management

Adaptation and Extreme Events at the Local Level

Edited by E. Carina H. Keskitalo

Climate Change and Flood Risk Management discusses and problematises the integration of adaptation to climate change in flood risk management. The book explores adaptation to climate change in relation to flood risk events in advanced industrial states. It provides examples of how flood risk management, disaster and emergency management, and adaptation to climate change may intersect in a number of European and Canadian cases.

Chapter 9: Dutch approaches to flood risks: developments in integrative water management and the synchronization of public and private agendas for climate adaptation in the Netherlands

Peter Scholten

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, climate change, environmental economics, environmental management


Combining adaptation to climate change and flood risks with other societal challenges in an integrative approach brings together a multitude of public and private stakeholders. This chapter focuses on the synchronizing of public and private agendas in the achievement of adaptation priorities designed to reduce a region’s vulnerability to flooding. It describes and analyses a specific initiative in which public parties such as municipalities and a provincial government and private parties, in the form of enterprises in commerce and industry, have jointly developed plans to creating room for the river Waal. The case study is embedded in an overview of historical development in water management and climate adaptation policy in the Netherlands. A major conclusion of this chapter is that processes of synchronization, that is, ongoing processes of adjustment between the agendas of public and private parties, are a prerequisite for a climate-adaptive and integrated approach to water management in the Netherlands. The constant processes of adjustment require both public and private parties to adopt connective and holistic thinking in order to find common ground for themselves and their agendas, creating necessary linkages across policy domains, business sectors and societal barriers. An important characteristic of the case study described in this chapter is the embedding of public–private initiatives in existing procedures for policy making at the same time as the characteristic openness, flexibility and connectivity of synchronization principles are maintained. This approach creates a synchronization instrument that serves as a connection between the local initiative and the general governmental system.

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