On the operational implementation of the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS)

TitleOn the operational implementation of the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS)
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSmith, P, Pappenberger, F, Wetterhall, F, Thielen, J, Krzeminski, B, Salamon, P, Muraro, D, Kalas, M, Baugh, C
Secondary TitleTechnical Memorandum
Number778
Abstract

Within Europe the most severe flood events are often cross border and may need to be managed by several responsible authorities in different countries and administrative districts. In these situations flood risk management becomes challenging as inconsistent or erroneous information may arise, for example, from lacking or incomplete communication between authorities or differing forecasts resulting in divergent assessments of the ongoing and forecasted flood event. This could lead to incoherent decision making and actions across the chain of responsibilities which could be counterproductive to taking the optimal measures for reducing the impacts of the flood event. Key requirements in avoiding discrepancies in information content are: clear communication channels, agreed protocols for exchange of data and information and a reference information set. This paper discusses the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) which operates on a pan-European scale to provide coherent medium range flood forecasts and related information and which serves as an independent reference information set for most of the hydrological services responsible for flood forecasting in Europe as well as the European Civil Protection. Here, alongside an overview of the managerial and technical aspects of EFAS case studies are used to illustrate the effectiveness of the system in providing early warning of the potential for flooding to the different services. These case studies focus on the central European floods of 2013 and Balkan floods of 2014.