Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-922
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-922
 
27 Sep 2022
27 Sep 2022

Quantifying the potential benefits of risk-mitigation strategies on future flood losses in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Carlos Mesta1, Gemma Cremen2, and Carmine Galasso1,2 Carlos Mesta et al.
  • 1Understanding and Managing Extremes (UME) Graduate School, Scuola Universitaria Superiore (IUSS) Pavia, Pavia, 27100, Italy
  • 2Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT J, United Kingdom

Abstract. Flood risk is expected to increase in many regions worldwide due to rapid urbanization and climate change if adequate risk-mitigation (or climate-change-adaptation) measures are not implemented. However, the exact benefits of these measures remain unknown or inadequately quantified for potential future events in some multi-hazard-prone areas such as Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, which this paper addresses. The analysis involves modeling two flood-occurrence cases (with 100-year and 1000-year mean return periods) and using four residential exposure inventories representing the current (2021) urban system or near-future (2031) development trajectories that Kathmandu Valley could experience. The results predict substantial mean absolute financial losses (€ 473 million and € 775 million in repair/reconstruction costs) and mean loss ratios (2.8 % and 4.5 %) for the respective flood-occurrence cases in current times if the building stock’s quality is assumed to have remained the same as in 2011 (Scenario A). Under a “no change” pathway for 2031 (Scenario B), where the vulnerability of the expanding building stock remains the same as in 2011, mean absolute financial losses for the 100-year and 1000-year mean return period flooding occurrences would respectively increase by 16 % and 14 % over those of Scenario A. However, a minimum (0.20 m) elevation of existing residential buildings located in the floodplains and the implementation of flood-hazard-informed land-use planning for 2031 (Scenario C) could respectively decrease the mean absolute financial losses of the flooding occurrences by 13 % and 9 %, and the corresponding mean loss ratios by 27 % and 23 %, relative to those of Scenario A. Moreover, an additional improvement of the building stock’s vulnerability that accounts for the multi-hazard-prone nature of the valley (by means of structural retrofitting and building code enforcement) for 2031 (Scenario D) would further decrease the mean loss ratios (respective reductions for the 100-year and 1000-year mean return period flooding occurrences would be 28 % and 24 % relative to those of Scenario A). The largest mean loss ratios computed in the four scenarios are consistently associated with populations of the highest incomes, which are largely located in the floodplains. In contrast, the most significant benefits of risk mitigation (i.e., largest reduction in mean absolute financial losses or mean loss ratios between scenarios) are experienced by populations of the lowest incomes. This paper’s main findings can inform decision makers about the benefits of investing in forward-looking multi-hazard risk-mitigation efforts.

Carlos Mesta et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-922', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Oct 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-922', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Oct 2022

Carlos Mesta et al.

Carlos Mesta et al.

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Short summary
Flood risk is expected to increase in many regions worldwide due to rapid urbanization and climate change. The benefits of risk-mitigation measures remain inadequately quantified for potential future events in some multi-hazard-prone areas such as Kathmandu Valley (KV), Nepal, which this paper addresses. The analysis involves modeling two flood-occurrence scenarios and using four residential exposure inventories representing current urban system or near-future development trajectories for KV.