Climate change leads to increasing frequencies and severity of extreme weather conditions such as increasing rainfall intensities, pluvial, river and coastal flooding, heat stress, etc. The city emergency planning needs to be revised in view of the changing climate.
There is a need for improved knowledge and insight on new extreme weather conditions and related consequences for disaster management and planning. This involves information and insight on the changes in the frequency of extreme rain storms and pluvial floods, locations and characteristics of the flooded zones: inundation area, maximum inundation depth, socio-economic consequences of these pluvial floods (inundated houses, hospitals, schools, homes for the elderly, …), impacts on disaster emergency planning needs (fire brigade interventions: pumping, sand bags; ambulances; evacuations), impacts on traffic infrastructure including tunnels and metros, and obstructions for routes used by disaster emergency vehicles, planning for alternative traffic routes for disaster emergency vehicles, in relation to the location and extent of the flood (extreme rainfall and flood scenarios), etc.
Based on these needs, Climate-fit.city will develop an Emergency Planning Service. The Service will deliver: (1) information on changes in the frequency of extreme rain storms and pluvial floods, and related changes in the pluvial flood risk areas, (2) quantified impacts on the disaster emergency planning, (3) revised traffic routes depending on the inundated areas. It will lead to a climate-proof emergency plan for extreme rainfall and pluvial flood related disasters.
For this Emergency Planning service, raw urban pluvial flooding information will be used by KU Leuven to simulate urban inundation, integrating surface runoff and inundation models with sewer surcharge models, combined with hydrological-hydraulic models of urban rivers, and employing a semi-automated approach to calibrate and verify the results based on historical flood information.
Together with the user (City of Antwerp), a tool will be implemented to quantify the socio-economic consequences of pluvial inundation, using readily available spatially referenced land use data (locations of houses, hospitals, schools, traffic infrastructure such as tunnels, elderly homes, …).
In addition, inundation information will be coupled to (existing) traffic models to assess the impacts on disaster emergency planning needs (interventions by the fire brigade, police, ambulances; evacuations), and to compute alternative emergency traffic routes.
The Emergency Planning service will be integrated in Antwerp’s disaster emergency planning system. A comparison will be made with current practice, which is largely based on regional rather than local information, and which is experience- rather than science-based.