Using the Choice Experiment Method to Inform Flood Risk Reduction Policies in the Upper Silesia Region of Poland
Since the 1990s flood risk and the effects of flooding episodes have reemerged as an important natural hazard concern in central and northern Europe. These concerns have also been exacerbated as a result of widespread and ever increasing awareness of global climate change, and significant wetland loss due to rising sea levels. Global climate change and wetland loss are expected to increase the frequency and extent of floods in the future (Nichols et al., 1999). These floods are expected to cause significant changes in the current land use and population patterns. Contrary to the flooding episodes of the past centuries, recent floods in Europe have milder effects in terms of loss of human life. Economic costs of flooding, however, are rapidly increasing as a result of high costs of damages to infrastructure and production in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, and disruptions to transport. In Poland and surrounding countries, the estimated costs of the damages of the floods of 1997 and 2001 are in the region of one billion USD for Poland, and 250 million USD, for the surrounding countries (Brakenridge et al, 1997, 2001). As a consequence of the increasing economic and social costs of floods, European governments have taken a more involved approach in flood risk reduction.
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