Independent public policy thank-tank Civic Exchange and scholars at the University of Leeds, UK, released a new research paper today on climate change and flood risks, titled “Rich Delta, Costly Flooding” showing Hong Kong hasn’t spent enough time to consider better flood management. This is an important part of climate adaptation, and should be a part of the government’s climate change consultation process.
- Major flood risks facing
Coastal regions along the Pearl River Delta (PRD) including Hong Kong and Shenzhen are facing major impacts from flooding as a result of climate change and rapid urbanisation. The region needs to assess flood risks, be open about those risks, and be ready to deal more effectively with flooding. “Vulnerability to climate change is an opportunity to provide greater resilience on extreme flood events in Hong Kong and the PRD”, said Faith Chan, the lead author of the publication.
- Build new flood governance
Right now, it is unclear which government bodies have direct responsibilities for flood management. This needs to be clarified. The report addresses-boundary flood problems and how to build a new flood management governance between the Hong Kong and Shenzhen authorities.
- Revisit development plans in light of risk assessment
The Hong Kong and Guangdong authorities should also revisit the region’s development plan to develop a long-term, integrated flood management strategy that recognizes the added risks from climate change and rapid development. “This means the government should not allow development in high risks area”, stressed Christine Loh, CEO of Civic Exchange and co-author of the report.
- Involve community in building flood resilience
Involving the community is also critical as can be seen from the British experience. “As the flood risk grows, the capacity to appraise the risk must be integrated into urban and rural planning, and sustainable development must become a driving force of change, where the public is involved”, Faith Chan added.