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Low-regret climate change adaptation in coastal megacities – evaluating large-scale flood protection and small-scale rainwater detention measures for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
12/09/23 09:03AM
Scheiber, Leon; David, Christoph Gabriel; Mazen Hoballah Jalloul; Visscher, Jan; Hong Quan Nguyen; et al.  Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences; Katlenburg-Lindau Vol. 23, Iss. 6, (2023): 2333-2347. DOI:10.5194/nhess-23-2333-2023

Abstract: Urban flooding is a major challenge for many megacities in low-elevation coastal zones (LECZs), especially in Southeast Asia. In these regions, the effects of environmental stressors overlap with rapid urbanization, which significantly aggravates the hazard potential. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in southern Vietnam is a prime example of this set of problems and therefore a suitable case study to apply the concept of low-regret disaster risk adaptation as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In order to explore and evaluate potential options of hazard mitigation, a hydro-numerical model was employed to scrutinize the effectiveness of two adaptation strategies: (1) a classic flood protection scheme including a large-scale ring dike as currently constructed in HCMC and (2) the widespread installation of small-scale rainwater detention as envisioned in the framework of the Chinese Sponge City Program (SCP). A third adaptation scenario (3) assesses the combination of both approaches (1) and (2).

From a hydrological point of view, the reduction in various flood intensity proxies that were computed within this study suggests that large-scale flood protection is comparable but slightly more effective than small-scale rainwater storage: for instance, the two adaptation options could reduce the normalized flood severity index (INFS), which is a measure combining flood depth and duration, by 17.9 % and 17.7 %, respectively. The number of flood-prone manufacturing firms that would be protected after adaptation, in turn, is nearly 2 times higher for the ring dike than for the Sponge City approach. However, the numerical results also reveal that both response options can be implemented in parallel, not only without reducing their individual effectiveness but also complementarily with considerable added value. Additionally, from a governance perspective, decentralized rainwater storage conforms ideally to the low-regret paradigm: while the existing large-scale ring dike depends on a binary commitment (to build or not to build), decentralized small- and micro-scale solutions can be implemented gradually (for example through targeted subsidies) and add technical redundancy to the overall system. In the end, both strategies are highly complementary in their spatial and temporal reduction in flood intensity. Local decision-makers may hence specifically seek combined strategies, adding to singular approaches, and design multi-faceted adaptation pathways in order to successfully prepare for a deeply uncertain future.

Fulltext: https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-23-2333-2023

(Source: https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/low-regret-climate-change-adaptation-coastal/docview/2829375244/se-2?accountid=28030)