Money Isn't Everything. Adaptation of Municipalities to Extreme Rainfall.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 46 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Adam CHORYNSKI, Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Heavy precipitation is seen as risk that will become more frequent and more intense in the future (IPCC 2007). This extreme weather event is a threat for human health as well as for infrastructure. It is predicted that due to changes in heavy precipitation patterns larger financial losses will occur.

Large agglomerations are more exposed to the problem of heavy precipitation mostly because of high density of population and accumulation of infrastructure. Smaller municipalities are less vulnerable, but they are also in the disposal of different resources. The scale of risk is smaller (less inhabited, still urbanised), but their potential to react is different (financial resources, infrastructure, knowledge and social resources). Studies point out that in smaller communes in case of reaction to natural hazards there is a large role of local authorities (Biernacki 2009). The most important issue making local authorities the successful actor is the awareness of local community needs and knowledge of local specifics (Michałowski 2006).

In this research authors are suggesting that financial resources are not a barrier for increasing resilience. Studies indicates that the main issue that needs to be solved regarding low resilience is the case of hazards perception and resulting from the behaviours (Collins et al., 2014). Municipal budgets for dealing with hazards are significant (but that does not mean that mitigating activities are sufficiently funded (Nemayer et al., 2014)). The problem is the direction of resources, so the consequences of hazards in the future will be not as severe. The process of learning, crucial for resilience, is the main issue regarding decreasing losses in the future and developing natural hazards preparedness.

The analysis bases on in-depth interviews with municipal representatives from the Wielkopolska region, Poland. Communes with a high number of fire department interventions related to extreme rainfall (2010-2014) are investigated.