Climate change has an impact on the frequency of flooding across Europe with around 200 catastrophic flood events recorded since 2000. Over the past few decades, overflowing rivers and heavy storms have increased becoming common natural disasters, leading to loss of life and having a high economic cost.
In Italy, the national climate change adaptation strategy indicates that the main areas at risk of flooding include the Po River valley and the Alpine and Apennine areas (where flash floods are common). In urban areas soil sealing preventing water from being absorbed in the earth compounds the impact of heavy rainfall events. In the Veneto region, short lasting floods have increased as a result and the extent of the flooded area has increased. A range of flood events affected the project areas, located in the Piedmont part of the Bacchiglione–Brenta river basin. The 2010 flood resulted in the death of 3 people and more than 150 000 animals, with an economic cost of around €429 million.
The overall objective of the LIFE BEWARE project objective is to implement the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change in regards to flood risks by increasing water infiltration and storage in urban and rural areas. The project aims to actively involve local communities in implementing Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) in Santorso and Marano Vicentino, as well as other EU municipalities.
The project will seek to create the favourable local administrative, financial and technical environment for NWRM. Best practices will demonstrate how to ensure that communities are safe from flood risks and the role that they can play in achieving EU climate change goals. These actions will be then supported in other areas of Italy and elsewhere in Europe.