Stakeholder oriented optimization of a Flood Warning System
Tutor / director / evaluatorHelfert, Marlene
Document typeBachelor thesis
Rights accessOpen Access
This MSc Thesis is part of the Project “Desarrollo e Implementación del SAT-Beni”. The project aims to minimize the adverse effects of floods in the region of Beni through the development and implementation of an Early Warning System based on modelling and hydrologic simulation and transferring these technologies to the appropriate Bolivian institutions. The specific objective of this MSc Thesis is to provide some specifications for improvements to the existing flood Early Warning System based on the interest and needs of the stakeholders involved as identified by themselves and that are feasible with the available technology. Monitoring and forecasting acquire significant relevance within the new Early Warning System that will be developed and implemented in the region of Beni. However, the development of the new flood Early Warning System does also consider as relevant the warning dissemination and communication, as well as, the emergency preparation and response. The research was carried out using data collected during Interviews with experts and inhabitants who have experience of floods in the region. A review of literature on the topic was made and discussions with Deltares staff were held to analyze the existing flood Early Warning System. Field research shows a variety of optimal lead times at which forecasts are required. Stakeholders considered to be relevant in the analysis as their different needs will impact on the design of the future warning system include: disaster management agencies, national and local governments, businesses, inhabitants local to the area studied and disadvantaged minorities. Whilst studying the existing system important lacks in the monitoring network in terms of O&M, personnel, equipment and coordination have been identified. The warning information dissemination network includes several organizations and various communication technologies which are used to warn, such as radio, TV, mobile and conventional phones, door knocking, etc. However, due to a huge number of people who do not receive any warning information, loudhailers and sirens need to be encouraged. Results of the research confirm that the effectiveness of warning messages depends on a large number of factors including accuracy, reliability, credibility, that they reach the right target recipients and that they are timely. In addition the individual and agency that disseminates the warning has a tremendous impact on the success of the message. In terms of flood responses, saving family members, household goods and livestock are the main activities carried out by ranchers and citizens. Farmers, however, frequently do not take any preventative action in order to save their crops. Risk awareness which includes the visibility of floods and prior experience has been identified as the main factor that influences the type of flood response taken and people’s perceptions of imminent danger.