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Assessing potential locations for green-blue interventions to reduce hydrometeorological hazards in the Wupper Catchment, Germany

  • Aim: European cities are facing heighten hydrological risks as a result of climate change at the same time as ecological degradation has reduced the environmental capacity to absorb and regulate such fluctuations. Climate forecasts predict more intense convective rainfall and winter flood events in the Wupper Basin in Germany, against a background trend of reduced mean rainfall during the summer months. On 14 July 2021 intense convective rainfall fell at points across Western Germany and led to flash floods in the Wupper Basin, many sites were inundated and the Wupper and Dhünn rivers rose to new record highs. Green-blue infrastructure offers strategies to reduce the impacts of hazards at the same time as providing a range of co-benefits. A study was undertaken to find which green-blue interventions will be most effective at reducing the impacts of hydrometeorological hazards for a study area in the west of the Wupper basin. Furthermore, as landscape features are highly influential in hydrology, the study sought to establish which sites within the landscape can provide maximum results from green-blue interventions, with a minimum of change to current land uses. Region: Europe, peri-urban and rural, undulating, low mountainous landscapes Methods: Literature findings on observed and projected climate data are summarised and long-term rainfall data from the study area is analysed to confirm rainfall trends. A state-of-the-art review is conducted and summarised to form a toolbox of potential interventions. The most recent hazardous hydrometeorological event is analysed to inform the locational priorities of potential interventions. Landscape features that have the most influence on basin hydrology are identified from the literature. These sites are paired with green-blue interventions that are shown to have the highest potential impact on interception, infiltration, runoff and flooding. A series of spatial analyses are carried out to produce maps detailing location and intervention with high potential to reduce the impact of hydrometeorological hazards in the study area. All of the evidence gathered from the literature analysis is combined in an implementation guide for green-blue interventions in the Wupper Basin. Results: The hazards caused by the hydrometeorological extremes of flooding and drought are addressed or minimised through the green-blue interventions that increase interception and infiltration and reduce runoff and flooding. Priority locations are identified as the riparian zone with slope ≤15%, hilltop, lower slope and toe slope, all locations with a slope ≥30% and areas with a high topographic wetness index (TWI). A series of spatial analyses were carried out and suggestions made including potential locations for retention or detention areas and ponds, sites for revegetation and potential locations for implementation of shelterbelts/hedgerows, buffer strips, conservation tillage or strip tillage, reduced mowing intensity or frequency and biochar additions. An implementation guide is created that provides a summary of the highest potential green-blue interventions and landscape locations, and a description of the mechanisms involved in addressing the hydrometeorological hazards. Keywords: Green-blue interventions, hydrometeorological hazard reduction, Wupper Basin hydrology
Author:Ali Barrett
Document Type:Master's Thesis
Publishing Institution:Hochschulbibliothek der Technischen Hochschule Köln
Granting Institution:Technische Hochschule Köln
Date of first Publication:2023/07/12
Date of Publication (online):2023/07/20
Tag:Hydrometeorological hazard reduction; Nature based solutions; Wupper Basin hydrology
Green-blue interventions
Institutes:Fakultät für Raumentwicklung und Infrastruktursysteme (F12) / Fakultät 12 / Institut für Technologie und Ressourcenmanagement in den Tropen und Subtropen
Dewey Decimal Classification:500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik
Open Access:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC0 1.0 - Universell - Public Domain Dedication