Socio-hydrological modelling: The influence of reservoir management and societal responses on flood impacts

C. Albertini, M. Mazzoleni, V. Totaro, V. Iacobellis, G.D. Baldassarre

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2020 by the authors.Over the last few years, several socio-hydrological studies have investigated the risk dynamics generated by the complex interactions between floods and societies, with a focus on either changing reservoir operation rules or raising levees. In this study, we propose a new socio-hydrological model of human-flood interactions that represents both changes in the reservoir management strategies and updating of the levee system. Our model is applied to simulate three prototypes of floodplain management strategies to cope with flood risk: green systems, in which societies resettle outside the flood-prone area; technological systems, in which societies implement structural measures, such as levees; and green-to-techno systems, in which societies shift from green to technological approaches. Floodplain dynamics are explored simulating possible future scenarios in the city of Brisbane, Australia. Results show that flood risk is strongly influenced by changes in flood and drought memory of reservoir operators, while risk-awareness levels shape the urbanisation of floodplains. Furthermore, scenarios of more frequent and higher magnitude events prove to enhance social flood memory in green systems, while technological systems experience much higher losses. Interestingly, green-to-techno systems may also evolve toward green floodplain management systems in response to large losses and technical/economical unfeasibility of larger structural measures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1384
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


Funding: Part of this research was supported by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS, by the Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS) in Sweden and by Politecnico di Bari through program for international mobility of students.

FundersFunder number
Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science
Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas
Politecnico di Milano


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