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Climate adaptation is worth millions

A new tool calculates whether flood prevention really does pay off. On the Danish island Lolland, the tool has already shown that adaptation to climate changes by means of a new lake provides an economic gain of DKK 20 million.

Now municipalities can see in writing, when climate adaptation is good business.


This is possible with the Danish Nature Agency's new climate adaptation tool, called PLASK (Splash), developed in cooperation with COWI. PLASK stands for Project on Local Analysis of the Social-Economics of Climate Adaptation.


- We face a major task to prepare the country for more rain and cloudbursts. Citizens must have the best possible safety for their money and therefore the municipalities now have a helping hand to prioritise where and how to intervene, says Minister for the Environment and Food of Denmark, Eva Kjer Hansen.


The tool works by the municipality or waste treatment company entering information about previous damages after a cloudburst, as well as information on the full range of options to prevent damage by flooding. The tool consequently calculates what the different solutions would cost in the short and long term – allowing the municipality to choose the solution that pays off the best. The tool also recognises side benefits such as the value of nature and storage of CO2.


Gain of DKK 20 million 
The tool has already proven its worth in Lolland Municipality. Here the tool showed that the municipality by establishing a lake could solve a flooding problem, while achieving an economic gain of about DKK 20 million in saved damage costs. The municipality would initially have made a conventional solution with an underground drainage system, but PLASK showed that it was substantially cheaper to set up a lake area.


- Municipalities have made climate adaptation plans that now they have to be put into practice. The new climate adaptation tool shows simply and clearly, whether an investment pays off. It is a decisive factor for the municipalities to go from plan to action, says Eva Kjer Hansen.


The tool has costed DKK 500,000 to develop, and it is free of charge for the municipalities to use.


Source: The Danish Ministry of Food and Environment