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Risk Treatment


The purpose of risk treatment is to investigate and define courses of action to modify the previously identified risks that need treatment. This involves the selection and evaluation of risk reduction measures (RRM). These measures are to be implemented by a set of actions that can be applied in order to prevent or reduce the occurrence or to minimise the consequences of hazardous events. These measures can act on risks in different ways (Almeida et al., 2011a):

  1. reduce the likelihood, by removing the risk source, acting on relevant risk factors or causes;

  2. reducing the consequences, considering all potential dimensions of the consequence;

  3. avoiding the risk by deciding not to start or to discontinue the activity that originates the risk; and

  4. sharing the risk with another party or parties, typically includes insurance and careful contract management, for instance, outsourcing.

A combination of likelihood and consequence (LC) can be obtained with some measures. Retaining the risk by informed decision is a possible course of action but it can hardly be considered as a risk reduction measure.

Different types of risk reduction measures can be considered. Almeida et al., (2011a), resume measures reported in the literature as presented in section 4.6.

The PREPARED risk reduction database (RRDB) incorporates information intended to facilitate the application of this step (Almeida et al. 2011a, 2013c) providing a RRM checklist with information on: measure characterisation and applicability; potential for risk reduction; implementation strategy; analysis of viability. Based on experiences, industrial knowledge and on-going initiatives, the database gives guidance on RRM, helping to identify the most effective or efficient RRM for a given situation.

At the water cycle level it is not only risk treatment measures acting on technical systems that are available. Stakeholders other than water systems managers can implement measures or actions to reduce risk, such as actions to control land use or enforcing specific regulations.

Adequate detection and alarm systems can also be an important way of reducing risk. A combined system for detection of critical situations at the water cycle level will be more efficient than individual systems covering just a part of the UWS. Thus, a programme for detection of critical situations at the water cycle level should be developed having in consideration the needs and existing solutions at systems level (detailed at step 6).

The overview of the most suitable RRM is of use to define an adaptation strategy. Given the uncertainty of future climate change effects, and also socio-economic developments, a strategy is chosen on when to implement RRM or what needs to be done to reach a decision on RRM in time. This WCSP step helps to bring together stakeholders with various interests and responsibilities (sometimes conflicting) and can also help to develop appropriate financing structures with the final aim of successful and timely implementation of the risk treatment programme.


Key actions

  1. Assess the likelihood and consequences for each event

  2. Estimate the level of risk for each event

  3. Evaluate risk for each event

  4. Compare and reassess estimated risks

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Risk Reduction DataBaseRisk_treatment_files/

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Example of possible risk treatments in Lisbon

Effect of different types of risk treatment on

identified risks

Risk Treatment GuidanceRisk_treatment_files/D2.4.3%20Risk%20treatment%20guidance.pdf