Think of this: Bangkok is sinking rapidly by the increasing flood of seawater invading the city.
Floods are an increasing issue for the world. But industries, businesses and public organisations like hospitals, still don’t focus on corporatewater risks as largely external to the company.
By taking precautions and building on the right places, Water Risk Management is an effective tool for addressing currentflood pressuresand water challenges.
Four steps for managing climate risks
Step 1: build awareness
Start thinking an start talking to understand the risks associated with extreme weather and climate change.
This includes engaging all employees, other local organisations and communities that play an important part of planning and response strategies. It should be clear that climate change is increasing the risks of extreme weather events and these risks may have significant impacts on the company’s bottom line.
Step 2: build scenario’s
Identify the impacts of extreme weather events could have on your operations and facilities.
There is no one single best approach for undertaking such a vulnerability assessment; the research identified a variety of ways of analyzing these changing risks based on the degree of internal expertise and the magnitude of risks.
Knowledge is required on potential threats. Flood prevention should not be limited to flood events. It should also include rare events, as they mostly endanger business and human safety. Start a high-level initial screening of potential climate risks including in-depth vulnerability assessments of high-risk facilities and operations.
The answer to the question “which level of flood protection can we accept” presumes that one has examined what could happen, i.e. that the risks were properly assessed.
Step 3: build strategies
Once potential impacts are identified, companies must develop strategies to prioritize actions to manage these risks.
There is a need for interdisciplinary co-operation regarding all phases of risk management: risk assessment, mitigation planning and implementation of measures. Specific risk mitigation actions could include:
Modifying planning and operations
Fortifying or relocating infrastructure and facilities
Addressing volatility or changes in the supply of key commodities such as water. The appropriate strategy consists of a three-step approach: retaining, storing and draining. Flood prevention needs also to be based on the precautionary principle.
Managing risks within supply chains
Expanding or adjusting insurance coverage
Structural measures (defence structures) will remain important elements and should primarily focus on the protection of human health and safety, and valuable goods and property.
Step 4: assessment and review
Leading companies, invest in knowledge, recognize future climate change risks and start today.
They periodically update their understanding of risks and their responses as new information becomes available and they are fine tuning their resilience strategies and capacities over time.