Foto: Avelino Isaias Mondlhane
Avelino Isaias Mondlhane

Flood risk management strategic planning with long-term perspectives is a complex problem, for which the solution requires a multidisciplinary and multi-paradigm approach. A significant dimension of this complexity arises from the need to include or add a participatory mode to the solution process, which amounts to a requirement that all stakeholders, ranging from decision makers to experts and beneficiaries, be involved in the decision making. However, these stakeholders may have different objectives, and this may lead to different or even conflicting courses of action, particularly when a selection must be made of the most appropriate coping strategy that may lead to sustainability. Multiple-criteria decision analysis is one paradigm that has the capability to handle these conflicting courses of action. There is a volume of research that has presented various strategies for flood risk management over the last couple of decades. Recent approaches have included computer-based modelling and infrastructure measurement. One finding providing a strong basis for the relevance of the problem we are trying to solve is that most of these strategies fail in the long run; this is particularly true in developing countries, considering their economic, infrastructure and social limitations.


Hence, a novel approach is very much warranted, and this is the central object of our study. An important aspect of its novelty lies in realising that instead of applying numerous strategies in isolation, one needs to combine and integrate them. Our research focuses on developing scenarios for integrating flood risk management strategies, based on multiple-criteria decision analysis to combine conflicting arguments in order to generate a viable strategy. Additional aspects of this holistic approach were imported from the area of business management, such as strategic planning and balanced scorecards for decision making within scenario planning. Finally, a long-term vision for a sustainable environment that minimises the impact of floods was designed using backcasting scenario planning.


The decision-making alternatives were risk, hazard, exposure and vulnerability, and these were used against a set of 24 criteria for control. These criteria were extracted from various coping and adaptive capabilities, and from environmental, economic, and social domains. The scenarios for the integration of flood risk management strategies are based on a real-life case study of the Limpopo River Basin, and specifically of the Chókwe district in Gaza province, Mozambique. The result of this research was a framework called SPIFRiMS, based on a sliding weight elicitation method. The framework and the data from the case study were implemented in Excel. The research outputs were five different scenarios illustrating different options from the perspectives of the stakeholders and beneficiaries in the light of their long-term views when compared to the actual state of the art.

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