University of Nottingham  

Project Background: Flood Risk Management in China

Rapid economic growth and an increasing urban population present a variety of challenges for flood management in 21st century China. Following the catastrophic floods of 1998, Government investment in flood control works in China increased significantly. More recently, the Ministry of Water Resources of China advocated a shift from ‘flood control’ to ‘flood management’, requiring an assessment of future flooding risk in order to facilitate decision-making for sustainable development.

The UK Foresight Future Flooding project offers a reference framework for assessing flood risk in China. An opportunity for the application of the Foresight Future Flooding project was identified in the Taihu Basin, East China. The region represents an important economic centre which accounts for 3% of the nation’s population and 13% of GDP.

The region is prone to flooding from a variety of sources: river flooding, storm surges and monsoonal rainfall. This is exacerbated by factors such as land subsidence due to groundwater abstraction, the ageing of flood control works and increasing development in flood prone areas. Flood risk in the Taihu Basin is expected to increase in the future as a result of rapid climate change and socio-economic development.

Project Aims

Without doubt, there is an urgent need for the foresight project in China and in the Taihu Basin. The China/UK scientific cooperation project “Scenario Analysis Technology for River Basin Flood Risk Management in the Taihu Basin” was therefore formulated to meet this need.

The project aimed to consider:
  • How might the risks of flooding change in Taihu Basin over the next 50 years?
  • What are the best options for Government and other stakeholders for responding to the future challenges?