If we want to make better decisions in flood risk management, we need to start by understanding why we have to make the particular decision in the first place. This commences with identifying the problem and defining our objectives.
In the simplest terms, a choice is required when there is conflict (i.e. disagreement) and uncertainty about a course of action to meet the defined objectives. Uncertainty arises because of initial limited knowledge of an option’s benefits and costs, and whether the ‘best’ choice to be made will be the most sustainable.
Economic appraisal enables the comparison of widely differing options, with careful consideration applied to how options are appraised as to their ‘value’ to arrive at the ‘best’ choice.
Penning-Rowsell, E.C., Priest, S., Parker, D., Morris, J., Tunstall, S. Viavattene, C., Chatterton, J.B., and Owen, D. (2013) Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management: A Manual for Economic Appraisal. London: Routledge.