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JCI at a Glance References Selected Projects Methodologies for Preliminary Assessments of Flood Risk and Development of Flood Hazard Maps
Methodologies for Preliminary Assessments of Flood Risk and Development of Flood Hazard Maps PDF Print E-mail

poplave_02Project Manager:
Marina Babić-Mladenović, Ph.D.C.E.

Directive 2007/60/ES of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks calls on all EU member states to publish Flood Risk Management Plans at the river basin district level by 22 December 2015. The development of these Plans involves three steps: (1) Development of a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) for each river basin, which identifies areas currently at risk or expected to be at risk in the future; (2) Development of flood risk and flood hazard maps, generally based on requirements outlined in the Directive but also reflecting local specificities; (3) Adoption of Flood Risk Management Plans, based on the outcomes of the first two steps.

The objective of this project is the development of a proposed methodology for the preparation of PFRAs for the territory of Serbia, and a proposed methodology for the preparation of flood risk and flood hazard maps called for by the Flood Directive. Direct and indirect beneficiaries of the project include national institutions in charge of water management, environmental protection, spatial planning, agriculture, forestry, energy, tourism, education, media and, as well as, local administrations.

Activities leading to the development of the methodologies for the preparation of PFRAs and flood risk and flood hazard maps for the territory of Serbia are two-fold:

  1. A comparative analysis of methodologies applied in EU member states; and
  2. Analysis of data available in Serbia.


The comparative analysis of methodologies used in EU member states and a review of the Flood Directive requirements led to the following conclusions relevant to the development of PFRAs for the territory of Serbia: poplave_01

  • Risks are generally assessed using only available or readily-accessible information and data (spatial plans, statistical data, land use pattern, surveys, and the like). Information on the extent of flood damage is used only if they are already compiled and readily available (England and Wales).
  • GIS technology and tools are always used for risk assessments.
  • EU member states have national databases, which were used for reporting under the Water Framework Directive (containing information on the hydrographic network, topography, land use pattern, population, potential polluters, and protected areas).
  • EU member states are developing databases containing digital indicative flood risk and flood hazard maps; the boundaries of threatened areas are determined based on historic flood events, outcomes of various hydrologic and hydraulic studies, and (approximated) boundaries of alluvial soils, DMT-based and using available hydrologic data.
  • Existing or planned flood protection systems automatically classify the area as a significant flood risk area, because such systems are obviously required. Regardless, there is always a residual flood risk (water levels higher than reference levels used for designing the system or system failure).
  • Standard criteria for the identification of significant flood risks (Article 4(2)(d)) address various aspects:

- Impact on public health: threatened population (generally population density),
- Impact on the environment: potential pollution sources (IPPC facilities),
- Impact on cultural heritage: protected cultural heritage, and
- Impact on economic activities: types of activities.

However, most countries do not apply all these criteria to designate significant flood risk areas at the PFRA stage. Instead, during flood risk mapping, these criteria will be used to classify risks into several categories.

In Serbia, GIS digital databases are still in the early stages of development. The following are available at this time:

  • A digital topographic overview map, 1:300.000 (DPTK300), including a database, of the Military Geographic Institute; it contains relevant data for the PFRA (administrative borders, relief, hydrography, cultural heritage, communications, settlements, electric power facilities, industrial facilities, digital model of the terrain). This data still need to be complemented and appropriately compiled to meet Flood Directive requirements.
  • A digital map of land uses – Corine Land Cover 2000 (European Environmental Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark). The CLC is deemed acceptable in EU member states, if more accurate data are not available.
  • A GIS database of indicative maps of flood risk areas (JCI). This database contains:

-     Potential (estimated) flood risk areas, resulting from a number of hydraulic studies;
-     Historic flood risk areas, based on either traces of high flows (population surveys or existing documentation) or mandatory assessments following a flood event (reconstruction of flood waves);
-     Potential flood risk areas, based on assessments made by the responsible water management agency in the Province of Vojvodina (information on applied criteria is generally unavailable);

  • A digital pedological map of Serbia, currently being prepared by JCI. An alternative could be a map of Serbia showing natural drainage characteristics of soils, which could be adapted and used with the GIS;
  • A digital map of flood protection structures, included in the Flood Defense Action Plan (JCI).

The PFRA requires the following to be shown in digital format:

-    Population: number or density (Source: National Statistical Office (NSO));
-    Economic activities (information already entered into the DPTK300 but requires additional data from the NSO and similar institutions);
-    Potential polluters according to the IPPC Directive (National Environmental Inspectorate);
-    Protected areas: areas designated for the abstraction of water for human consumption (information from utilities), protected cultural heritage (Ministry of Culture and Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments), and protected natural assets (Nature Conservation Institute).

The development of this digital map is an ongoing process, which requires continual updating.


  • The following have been reviewed and analyzed:

- Flood Directive requirements
- EU member-state methodologies for the PFRA
- PFRA data available in Serbia

  • The following activities are currently in progress:

- Development of a proposed PFRA methodology
- Review of EU member-state methodologies for the development of flood risk and flood hazard maps

  • The outcomes of the project will include proposed methodologies for the development of:

- Flood risk and flood hazard maps

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