Challenges of organising flood management

Connective Cities Dialogue Event in Cologne, Germany


Under the slogan “Challenges of Organising Flood Management”, the 6th Dialogue event of the international community of practice Connective Cities was carried out. Between 9th and 11th February 2015 representatives from municipal, state, and national institutions from Germany, Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, China, the Netherlands, Serbia, Ireland and Pakistan met in Cologne to exchange on their local experiences.

The objectives of the event were to strengthen the knowledge exchange between German cities and cities from emerging and developing countries, as well as from other industrialised countries, in order to identify good practices, to start a mutual learning process and to develop common project ideas.


For the event kick-off, a welcome speech was carried out by Mr. Otto Schaaf, CEO of the Group of Municipal Drainage Operations Cologne, highlighting the company’s experience in coping with flood events. Subsequently, in his keynote presentation Mr. Otto Huter from the Association of German Cities indicated the challenges for flood protection in Germany, and stressed the necessity of close cooperation between all levels of administration and policy making. In addition, Mr. Adrian Schimdt-Breton from the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine presented the international Flood Risk Management Plan for the river Rhine basin as an example of transboundary flood risk management.

To bring a view from abroad, Mr. Chaiporn Siripornpibul from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand presented the case of the flood disaster that took place in 2011 in Thailand and indicated the integrated management of floods, droughts and environmental aspects as an important issue to tackle the problem in his country. Mr. Othon Fialho de Oliveira from the National Water Agency (Brazil) has also shared the Brazilian experience on flood management on the second day of the event, and presented the national approach for hydrometereological monitoring, vulnerability and flood mapping.


Working Group 1

General Flood Prevention
Muhammad Khaliq, City of Matta, Pakistan
Arnoai Stream and River Swat Flash Flood Harzards at Matta, Pakistan

Technical Aspects of Flood Protection Works
Detlev Harries and Sylvia Pratzler-Wanczura, Dortmund Fire Brigade, Germany
Practical experience and methodology in flood protection in the City of Dortmund

Flood Management
Eamonn Walsh, Cork City, Ireland
Flood Management in Cork City, Ireland

Working Group 2

General Flood Prevention
Corina Gall, Uniwasser GmbH, Kaiserslautern, Germany
Pilot Project “Flood Emergency Concept, river Moselle”

Technical Aspects of Flood Protection Works
Teerapon Chauyriang, District of Suan Pheung, Thailand
Integrated Flood Management in the Lum Pha Chi river, Thailand

Flood Management
Cláudio Belem, City of Manaus, Brazil
Flood Management for Rio Negro, Manaus, Brazil

Working Group 3

General Flood Prevention
Weird Andries de Haan, City of Nijmegen, Netherlands
Room for the River Project, Nijmegen, Netherlands

Technical Aspects of Flood Protection Works
Johannes Feyrer, Cologne Fire Brigade, Germany
Mobile support of guidance from North Rhine-Westfalia to Magdeburg

Flood Management
Syahrir, Banjarmasin City, Indonesia
Flood protection in Banjarmasin City
Veronika Lowke, Association of Counties, Saxony, Germany
Catastrophe management 2.0 – Flood Management and Social Media

Working Group 4

General Flood Prevention
Liu Qilai, Beijing Municipal Government, China
Flood control in Beijing: flood control through surface and underground reservoirs

Technical Aspects of Flood Protection Works
Major Antonio Hiller, Department for Civil Defense, State of Paraná, Brazil
Flood Information System of the State of Paraná, Brazil

Flood Management
Ralf Schernikau, Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, Food, Wine and Forestry, Germany
Flood Partnerships Rhineland-Palatinate: a bottom-up approach for the enhancement of local awareness

Peer-to-Peer session

The Peer-to-Peer session was carried out on the second day of the event, and opened a space where the participating experts could consult their peers on a given challenge. The participants from Manaus and Sao Paulo (Brazil), Matta (Pakistan), Beijing (China), Belgrad (Serbia) and Banjarmasin (Indonesia) exposed their cases and received inputs from the colleagues in the areas of implementation of mobile protection systems, definition of concepts for flood management, flood vulnerability reduction strategies, among others.


Organising flood management is a challenging task. Although many of the participants agreed that the information and technology to deal with flood events are currently more accessible than before, important challenges remain to be coped.

As priority for further cooperation efforts three main themes were pointed out:

1)      Local Flood Management Plans: definition of the needs and vulnerabilities, identification of best practices and conceptual approaches, development of a plan template, develop local flood management response plans.

2)      Integrated Master Plan Concepts: definition of the concepts for an integrated urban planning taking into consideration ecological and economical aspects associated with the waste management and flood protection.

3)      Risk Governance: identify the best practices on institutional framework setting, command structures, volunteer training, population awareness and self-responsibility, communication tools, and stakeholder coordination to reduce vulnerability and to improve effectiveness in the response and recovery stages.


Connective Cities Dialogue Event
Challenges of Organising Flood Management
9 – 11 February 2015 in Cologne, Germany
[pdf, 20 pp., 3,17mb]



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