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  • OPERANDUM webinar on Nature-based Solutions for flood and drought mitigation United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - Headquarters
    University of Bologna

    Date: 23 Jun 2021

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OPERANDUM webinar on Nature-based Solutions for flood and drought mitigation

MAIN ORGANIZER(S): University of Bologna (Unibo)

MAIN HOST(S): United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - Headquarters (UNESCO)

Type: Meeting or Conference Date: 23 Jun 2021 Location: Online event

About this event

Hydrometeorological hazards such as floods, droughts and storm surges are occurring more frequently and more severly due to climate change. Future climate projections suggest that the challenges of managing these hazards are likely to become even more demanding. Nature-based Solutions (NBS) can be used to effectively address these risks and build resilience while providing environmental, social, and economic benefits.

This can mean preserving riverine ecosystems and biodiversity, while contributing to managing the risk of flooding. Relevant actions can include landscape and floodplain management, river restoration using natural processes or (re)introducing green corridors. Examples of such solutions are implemented within the OPERANDUM project at the Open-Air Laboratories (OAL) Greece, Germany, Ireland and Italy.

These are among the 7 European rural territories working to reduce hydro-meteorological risks by co-creating, testing, and demonstrating the effectiveness of innovative NBS. Each OAL has unique environmental and socio-cultural conditions and is exposed to different types of hazards. The OALs integrate NBS research and development processes through a holistic approach by collaboratively exploring, experiencing, and assessing innovative ideas, scenarios, concepts, and technological features in real-life use cases.

Join the second OPERANDUM OAL webinar and gain insights and take-aways based on the continuous co-creation process of exploring, testing, and adapting innovative NBS for flood and drought management at OALs.


1:30 PM CEST

OAL activities in a nutshell

OAL Greece is located in Spercheios River Basin in Central Greece is frequently exposed to seasonal droughts and flooding. Natural Water Retention Measures (wet ponds) are the main interventions to mitigate these hazards, supported by restoration and stabilization of the river banks, re-meandering the river course, cleaning the bed material load and widening of the river bed.

OAL Germany is represented by the Biosphere Reserve Lower Saxony Elbe Valley. Flooding is a significant problem and is being explored with blue-green NBS as a response. In particular, at narrows, it is crucial to reduce the extreme flood height of the Elbe by removing vegetation with runoff-inhibiting effects. To sustainably prevent regrowth, grazing animals are used where possible. However, these measures are subject to numerous, partly contradictory legal provisions. In order to solve this situation mutually, the Cooperative Floodplain Management has been established.

OAL Ireland is located in Ringsend river in Dublin and aims to reduce the impact of river flooding. Based on a comprehensive analysis of suitable nature-based interventions to control water run-off in an urban environment, green roofs were deployed on site, together with a range of sensors to monitor environmental conditions such as rainfall, wind speed and direction, soil moisture, solar radiation, humidity, and water flow.

OAL Italy is located both on the Panaro River, the last Apennine tributary of the Po river, and in part of the Po Delta UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The downstream part of the Panaro river has high earth banks on both sides since this area has always been subject to flooding. Herbaceous perennial deep rooting plants are installed as coverage of earth embankments to prevent river bank failures induced by surface erosion and thus mitigate the flooding risk.

Who are the experts?

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Loupis, Technical Director of Innovative Technologies Centre, Associate Professor at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens and OAL Greece coordinator.
  • Prof. Dr. Elena Toth, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering, University of Bologna, Italy
  • Prof. Dr. Beatrice Pulvirenti, Associate Professor of Applied Physics in the Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Bologna and OAL Italy coordinator
  • Dr. Bidroha Basu, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University College Dublin and part of the research team to model flood scenarios for the implementation of green roof NBS at OAL Ireland
  • Prof. Dr. Johannes Prüter, Head of Biosphere Reserve Lower Saxony Elbe Valley (ret.) and honorary professor at the University of Lüneburg, Cooperation partner for OAL-Germany.
  • Dr. Swantje Preuschmann, Research Associate at Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, OAL-Germany coordinator.

For more information on the OPERANDUM Project, click here:

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