Comparing Methods of Calculating Expected Annual Damage in Urban Pluvial Flood Risk Assessments

Anders Skovgård Olsen, Qianqian Zhou, Jens Jørgen Linde, Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen

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Estimating the expected annual damage (EAD) due to flooding in an urban area is of great interest for urban water managers and other stakeholders. It is a strong indicator for a given area showing how vulnerable it is to flood risk and how much can be gained by implementing e.g., climate change adaptation measures. This study identifies and compares three different methods for estimating the EAD based on unit costs of flooding of urban assets. One of these methods was used in previous studies and calculates the EAD based on a few extreme events by assuming a log-linear relationship between cost of an event and the corresponding return period. This method is compared to methods that are either more complicated or require more calculations. The choice of method by which the EAD is calculated appears to be of minor importance. At all three case study areas it seems more important that there is a shift in the damage costs as a function of the return period. The shift occurs approximately at the 10 year return period and can perhaps be related to the design criteria for sewer systems. Further, it was tested if the EAD estimation could be simplified by assuming a single unit cost per flooded area. The results indicate that within each catchment this may be a feasible approach. However the unit costs varies substantially between different case study areas. Hence it is not feasible to develop unit costs that can be used to calculate EAD, most likely because the urban landscape is too heterogeneous.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)255-270
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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