Participatory integrated assessment of flood protection measures for climate adaptation in Dhaka
Abstract: Dhaka is one of the largest megacities in the world and its population is growing rapidly. Due to its location on a deltaic plain, the city is extremely prone to detrimental flooding, and risks associated with this are expected to increase further in the coming years due to global climate change impacts as well as the high rate of urbanization the city is facing. The lowest-lying part of Dhaka, namely Dhaka East, is facing the most severe risk of flooding. Traditionally, excess water in this part of the city was efficiently stored in water ponds and gradually drained into rivers through connected canals. However, the alarming increase in Dhaka’s population is causing encroachment of these water retention areas because of land scarcity. The city’s natural drainage is not functioning well and the area is still not protected from flooding, which causes major threats to its inhabitants. This situation increases the urgency to adapt effectively to current flooding caused by climate variability and also to the impacts of future climate change. Although the government is planning several adaptive measures to protect the area from floods, a systematic framework to analyze and assess them is lacking. The objective of this paper is to develop an integrated framework for the assessment and prioritization of various (current and potential) adaptation measures aimed at protecting vulnerable areas from flooding. The study identifies, analyzes, assesses and prioritizes adaptive initiatives and measures to address flood risks in the eastern fringe area, and the adaptation assessment is conducted within the framework of multi-criteria analysis (MCA) methodology. MCA facilitates the participation of stakeholders and hence allows normative judgements, while incorporating technical expertise in the adaptation assessment. Based on the assessment, adaptive measures are prioritized to indicate which actions should be implemented first. Such a participatory integrated assessment of adaptation options is currently lacking in the decision-making process in the city of Dhaka and could greatly help reach informed and structured decisions in the development of adaptation strategies for flood protection.
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