Even though catastrophic flood events, like those experienced in downstream countries such as Bangladesh or the Netherlands, do not happen in Sweden, not investing in flood preparedness does carry significant socio-economic risks. A range of factors, including changes in rainfall patterns, rising sea levels in the southern part of the country, and ongoing development of coastal infrastructure, mean that Sweden is becoming more vulnerable to floods. Sweden lacks a preventive and comprehensive approach to flood management, and as a result is missing out on the win-win opportunities offered by integrated flood-risk management.

This integrated approach not only addresses flood risk, but also other linked issues, including eutrophication and environmental degradation of watersheds and the Baltic Sea. The Swedish Water House and SEI set up a stakeholder group on water and disaster risk reduction, supported by the Swedish Government, which has worked for three years to explore integrated management and governance approaches to managing flood risk.

This article reviews the current situation in Sweden, and outlines the conclusions of the group.

Source: Government Gazette, EU