10. How can flood consequences be mitigated?

By implementing a consistent and well thought-out policy at world, regional, national and local level, it is entirely possible to mitigate the negative consequences of floods, especially those affecting human health and life, the environment, cultural heritage, economic activity and infrastructure.

Combating floods involves activities implemented in accordance with long-term plans, as well as short-term activities.
Examples of long-term activities include the building of various protective installations and their annual maintenance, as well as the development and maintenance of various protection plans. 

Short-term activities are prepared annually and are implemented when there is a danger of flooding. Examples include the advance provision of waterproof sheeting, sandbags, water pumps and electricity generators, making organisational arrangements on the basis of the existing plans and analysis of systems for control and warning of flooding. The clearance of drainage systems and the flowability of river channels are extremely important and are the direct responsibility of local authorities. 
Effectiveness in combating floods is determined not only by the climate specifics and the regime of the rivers in a given region, but also by the specific location of the urban centers and the availability of  hydraulic structures capable of regulating water outflow (Fig. 9). However, the effects of flooding are reduced primarily by measures that prevent or restrict the urban expansion in areas subject to floods such as the high water riverbeds (Fig. 10).

Experience shows that it is entirely possible to avoid catastrophic consequences of floods when the relevant predictions are taken into account appropriately and on a timely basis and the respective activities are implemented in line with local conditions. Arrangements for timely information about the danger of flooding and training in proper responses and giving first aid are factors which considerably mitigate the consequences.

Fig. 10. Po River near Guastalla (Reggio Emilia Province) during the flood peak on november 2000. The houses located in the flooded area were built in the high water riverbed (Source: G. Bertolini)