Heavy rain risk prevention in Saxony and Europe - new website informs about suitable measures

A collection of information, tools and practical examples for dealing with the natural hazard of heavy rainfall events is now available to local authorities and interested parties. The release of these toolbox marks the end of the EU project RAINMAN. Among other things, the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) has contributed high-resolution hazard warning maps.


Detailed view: Possible water levels due to heavy rain in a community (Source: A. Sauer/IOER)

Currently, heavy rainfall events are hitting cities, villages and entire regions in Saxony and Central Europe again. Even places that are not close to water bodies can be affected by flooding and damage. It is difficult to estimate exactly when and where extreme rainfall will occur during thunderstorms, and usually there is hardly any warning time. This makes it even more important to assess possible risks caused by heavy rain in advance and to take appropriate measures to reduce potential damage.

A new website (https://rainman-toolbox.eu/) now provides an overview of suitable measures and good practical examples. The toolbox is the result of the RAINMAN project. A total of ten partners and many municipalities and technical authorities from Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia have compiled it over a three years project duration. The project has been supported by the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE programme of the European Union.

The toolbox contains a collection of methods for the assessment and mapping of heavy rain risks as well as guidance for the planning and implementation of risk mitigation measures, and inspiration and guidance for risk communication. Numerous fact sheets inform about examples of positive practical experiences regarding the implementation and test of integrated heavy rain risk management measures in the six participating European countries.

The experience gained in the project on the various options for municipal heavy rain prevention is now available on the new website as a knowledge base primarily for those responsible in municipalities and regions. The tools for risk assessment and mapping show municipal decision-makers examples of methods for determining where water accumulates in the event of heavy rainfall and can damage people, infrastructure and property on its way to the nearest water body. Based on of this knowledge, those responsible for their region can commission on-site investigations and take appropriate preventive measures. Possible starting points for risk reduction range from local measures of land use planning, to natural or technical measures to retain suddenly occurring water masses or safely discharge the water. Moreover, the consideration of heavy rain scenarios in emergency response can reduce risks of heavy rainfall events.

Good examples from Saxony

To enable the population, municipalities and regions in Saxony to prepare themselves in advance for the growing danger of heavy rain and better prevent damage in the future, the IOER, the Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG) and the Saxon State Ministry for Regional Development (SMR), have created good examples of prevention measures in the past three years, with the collaboration of a number of pilot municipalities. In Leutersdorf and its district Spitzkunnersdorf (Lusatia region), for example, a flash flood caused major damage after heavy rainfall in 2017. Uncontrolled runoff water shot over large field areas towards the nearest body of water, carrying away mud and flooding the settlement areas in between. For the first time, heavy rain events are now being included in the sectoral planning process to improve flood protection in Spitzkunnersdorf. To support the community, the IOER has produced spatially high-resolution hazard warning maps with water levels and flow velocities for various heavy rain scenarios. This is just one of the practical examples that can be read on the website in the section "Our Stories".

Background

In the RAINMAN project (Integrated Heavy Rain Risk Management), the partners have developed innovative methods and tools for integrated heavy rain risk management in Central Europe during the project period from July 2017 to June 2020. They tested these instruments in various pilot regions. The aim was to reduce the damage caused by heavy rain events in urban and rural areas by improving risk management. The project was funded by the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE programme of the European Union with a total of 2.5 million euros. Lead Partner was the Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG).

Further information is available on the project website

Link to the RAINMAN toolbox

Contact at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER):
Dr. Regine Ortlepp, E-Mail: R.Ortlepp[im]ioer.de
Dr. Axel Sauer, E-Mail: A.Sauer[im]ioer.de


 Heavy rain hazard maps of Spitzkunnersdorf and Oderwitz
Map:

Heavy rain hazard maps such as these for the towns of Spitzkunnersdorf and Oderwitz in Upper Lusatia show where communities could be particularly affected by flooding in the event of heavy rainfall. This makes it possible to estimate where precautionary measures should be taken. Please click to enlarge the map. Detailed view: Possible water levels due to heavy rain in a community (Source: A. Sauer/IOER). Please click to enlarge.