Sharing local and professional knowledge on flood risk in Borgharen
On 7 and 8 May 2017, a research team of the Institute for Environmental Studies (VU Amsterdam) organises a set of participatory activities in Borgharen with the objective of sharing the local and professional knowledge of regional flood risk.
As the last major Meuse floods affecting Itteren and Borgharen (near Maastricht) occurred more than twenty years ago, local citizens feel safe with the new water infrastructure and are not really motivated to contribute to flood risk mitigation. Yet, newly built infrastructure cannot fully remove the risk of an unlikely but possible flood, whilst citizens themselves can act to reduce the probability of loss and damage. The researchers of the IVM therefore try to raise awareness and increase the local flood knowledge and motivation to act by involving citizens and authority representatives in participatory activities about flood risk.
On Sunday 7 May, the participants enjoy a walk through Borgharen during which local citizens tell stories about their experiences during the floods of 1993 and 1995. Afterwards, images and videos of these floods and other flood-related events in the surroundings of Itteren and Borgharen are exhibited. The participants then join a discussion session about contemporary flood risk, with presentations of authority representatives (representing Rijkswaterstaat, safety region, and the municipality of Maastricht).
On Monday 8 May, the researchers organise a meeting between elementary school students and senior citizens of Borgharen, aimed at sharing flood experiences with the local students.
Five case studies
The activities are part of the EU-funded project CAPFLO, which addresses participatory capacity building for flood risk mitigation in five case studies (in The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany). The research aims to identify suitable participatory activities for social capacity building and will produce guidelines that citizen groups, local authorities or other interested parties can use to assess and build social capacity for flood risk mitigation. For AWS, Stefania Munaretto and Douwe de Voogt (IVM) are part of the research team.