Flood Risk Management New York City

An article in Science by Jeroen Aerts, Wouter Botzen, Hans de Moel and colleagues of partner institutions MIT, Princeton University and The Wharton School, presents a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of flood risk management strategies in New York City (NYC). 

To help inform policy decisions, this article applies a multidisciplinary scientific approach for an economic evaluation of flood management strategies for NYC to reduce flood risks, now and in the future. It applies a probabilistic risk assessment of hurricanes and storm surge to determine the vulnerability of exposed buildings and infrastructure for each of the 1.2 million buildings in NYC. The method is novel, since it also accounts for many sources of uncertainty. A cost-benefit analysis of flood risk-management strategies was conducted to evaluate the benefits (avoided risk) of a variety of building codes and flood protection strategies and their costs, under future scenarios of climate change and socio-economic development. In addition, the optimal timing of investments in storm-surge flood-risk protection was evaluated.

This study provides economic rationale for some measures that have been recently proposed by the City of New York for increasing flood resilience. Implementing improved cost-effective building codes – such as elevating new buildings and protecting critical infrastructure by including adaptation measures into maintenance works – is the most cost-effective strategy. If in the future climate change results in both sea level rise and increased storm frequencies, then it will pay off for NYC to invest in flood-protection, including the placement of storm surge barriers similar to the Deltaworks in the Netherlands. Installing storm surge barriers in the future, means that they should be studied now.

The full article can be found here:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6183/473.full?sid=1f83e0ca-e44f-47f5-91df-ff5142947a93

For more information contact Jeroen Aerts.