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Adapting to flood risks


Detailed description of the Good Practice

Adaptation to flood risk in Riga is challenging in several aspects: geographical characteristics, policy design and governance. The capital city has a large diversity of land use types, and fragmented patterns of residential and economical activities. Nearly 60% of Riga’s 15 kilometre long coastline is vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surges. Other climate related hazards comprise storm surges, flash floods due to intensive precipitation and outdated technical infrastructure of the urban water system.

Man-made coastal flood protection started in the 13th century, when wood constructions provided flood protection on the banks of the Daugava River. Traditionally flood-prone areas have not been developed and dunes serve as natural flood protection. In recent decades flash floods occur due to intensive precipitation and the outdated infrastructure of the urban water system. The urban flood prone area is estimated to increase by 27% by the year 2100 (based on IPCC A1B scenario projections).

Close cooperation between researchers and practitioners helped to integrate specific climate change knowledge into operational activities of the municipality in the field of spatial planning, risk assessment and civil protection. New and innovative climate change adaptation, including governance approaches, adaptation policy design and multi-criteria decision-making analysis are currently being explored for their applicability in Riga.

Riga has benefitted from and contributed to cooperation and knowledge transfer for flood prevention and climate change adaptation in the Baltic Sea Region. The implementation of integrated adaptation measures are political and planning priorities for Riga.

flood protection
climate change
climate change adaptation

Objectives of the Good Practice

To develop new adaptation options for climate change.

Participants of the Good Practice

Researchers, practitioners from the municipality

Funding of the Good Practice

The process is part of the BaltCICA project, partly financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund).

More Details of the Good Practice

Planners of the Riga City municipality and researchers of the University of Latvia closely cooperate in the BaltiCICA project. Specialized climate change knowledge was transferred and integrated into legitimized and operational activities of the City government, particularly in the field of spatial planning regulations. The prognosis of sea level rise for Riga City and its surroundings is included for near and long term flood modelling.

Riga city proves that in spite of cuts of public finances the local level and the expert community are capable to continue to work on feasible climate change adaptation measures to support regional development.

Documentation and documents

More information can be found at the BaltCICA project website.

Available files

Contact details

Agrita Briede,
University of Latvia,