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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-627
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-627
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 17 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 17 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

The Value of Citizen Science for Flood Risk Reduction: Cost-benefit Analysis of a Citizen Observatory in the Brenta-Bacchiglione Catchment

Michele Ferri1, Uta Wehn2, Linda See3, and Steffen Fritz3 Michele Ferri et al.
  • 1Alto-Adriatico Water Authority (AAWA), Cannaregio 4314, 30121Venice, Italy
  • 2IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Westvest 7, 2611 AX Delft, The Netherlands
  • 3International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Schlossplatz 1, 2361 Laxenburg, Austria

Abstract. Citizen observatories are a relatively recent form of citizen science, which involve citizens in making environmental observations over a period of time. These observations can help to inform the decision making of local authorities and other stakeholders, creating a platform for two-way interaction between citizens and public agencies. Although citizen observatories can clearly generate many different benefits, they also have an associated cost. There are currently no examples of quantifying the costs and benefits of citizen observatories in the literature, yet this type of analysis is critical if there is to be real uptake of citizen observatories by public agencies more generally. This paper presents and applies a generic methodology for capturing the value of a citizen observatory for flood risk reduction in the Brenta-Bacchiglione catchment using a cost-benefit analysis. The results show that the benefits of implementing a citizen observatory approach outweigh the costs by approximately 2 to 1 and can reduce the annual expected damage to a greater degree than a much more costly structural approach.

Michele Ferri et al.
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Michele Ferri et al.
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Short summary
Citizen observatories involve citizens in making environmental observations that help to inform the decision making of local authorities. Although citizen observatories can generate many benefits, they also have an associated cost. In this paper, we undertook a cost-benefit analysis of a citizen observatory on flooding in northern Italy. The results show that the benefits outweigh the costs by 2 to 1. Implementation of other citizen observatories could help to reduce flood risk in the future.
Citizen observatories involve citizens in making environmental observations that help to inform...
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