From flood protection to flood risk management: Condition-based and performance-based regulations in German Water Law

Thomas Hartmann*, Juliane Albrecht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In many European countries, a paradigm shift from technically oriented flood protection to a holistic approach of flood risk management is taking place. In Germany, this approach is currently being implemented after several amendments of the Federal Water Act. The paradigm shift is also reflected in the theoretical structure of the legal stipulations. While the former regulations of flood protection were predominantly conditions-based, linked with clear preconditions and legal consequences, the legal implementation of the flood risk management approach is accompanied by an increase of goal-oriented, performance-based regulations. This contribution discusses the interrelationship between the two legislative approaches and the specific challenges for the administration. Flood risk management, as a policy field, requires the law to provide robustness but also flexibility. It is concluded that the German way could accidentally provide a viable answer to this dilemma. The conclusions drawn for the flood risk management in Germany might be applicable also to other policy fields and even outside Germany.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberequ015
Pages (from-to)243-268
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Environmental Law
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • (German) water law
  • Flood risk management
  • Types of legislation

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