Coastal and river flood risk analyses for guiding economically optimal flood adaptation policies: A country-scale study for Mexico

Toon Haer*, W. J.Wouter Botzen, Vincent Van Roomen, Harry Connor, Jorge Zavala-Hidalgo, Dirk M. Eilander, Philip J. Ward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Many countries around the world face increasing impacts from flooding due to socio-economic development in flood-prone areas, which may be enhanced in intensity and frequency as a result of climate change. With increasing flood risk, it is becoming more important to be able to assess the costs and benefits of adaptation strategies. To guide the design of such strategies, policy makers need tools to prioritize where adaptation is needed and how much adaptation funds are required. In this country-scale study, we show how flood risk analyses can be used in cost–benefit analyses to prioritize investments in flood adaptation strategies in Mexico under future climate scenarios. Moreover, given the often limited availability of detailed local data for such analyses, we show how state-of-the-art global data and flood risk assessment models can be applied for a detailed assessment of optimal flood-protection strategies. Our results show that especially states along the Gulf of Mexico have considerable economic benefits from investments in adaptation that limit risks from both river and coastal floods, and that increased flood-protection standards are economically beneficial for many Mexican states. We discuss the sensitivity of our results to modelling uncertainties, the transferability of our modelling approach and policy implications. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Advances in risk assessment for climate change adaptation policy’.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20170329
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2121
Early online date30 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Cost–benefit analysis
  • Flood risk
  • Policy decisions


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