Friday 16 Feb 2018Household resilience to flooding: Perceptions, intentions and decision-stages of flood plain residents towards flooding and flood coping.

Dr Kimberly Bryan - University of Exeter

Harrison 170 14:30-15:30

Abstract: The national flood risk management (FRM) policy in England aims to achieve flood resilience through traditional flood defence, planning controls, risk transference, and public participation. Households and communities are therefore now expected to take ownership of certain non-technical aspects of flood management in their local area. However, since this is not traditionally the role of English households and communities, their participation in flood coping has been minimal. This research sought to better understand how households in flood risk areas perceive flooding and what indicators drive their intentions to implement responses to cope with a major flood. A questionnaire survey, developed in the context of Protection Motivation Theory, was administered in two flood prone Exeter communities. It was found that whilst households expect a major flood to present moderate to high consequences, there was little uptake of recommended flood coping measures. Households were found to be at the very early stages of decision-making about implementing flood coping measures. Two decision stages were identified, the pre-contemplative stage and the contemplative stage. Most of the participants were pre-contemplative and had not implemented or plan to implement any flood coping measures. Contemplatives displayed greater willingness to implement flood coping responses. Flood coping indicators driving these behavioural intentions appeared to be those of perceived flood consequences, perceived effectiveness of flood coping measures, and the perceived costs to implement them. These indicators have been incorporated into a decision support framework to enable discussion, participation, and informed decision-making about household and community related projects to increase flood resilience in areas at risk of flooding.

Biography: Kimberly recently completed her PhD at the University of Exeter under the research project “Safe and SuRe: a new paradigm for water management”. This research was concerned with understanding and identifying the indicators that motivate water users to implement strategies to become more resilient to infrastructure failures that cause drought and flooding. A framework and toolkit were developed for enhancing community resilience to water management extremes. Prior to commencing her PhD, she worked as an environmental consultant in Jamaica for five and half years. Some of the inter-disciplinary projects she was involved in included environmental impact assessments, environmental monitoring, policy review and analysis including climate change adaptation and flood risk management, and community engagement on various environmental and planning issues.

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