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Flood management and evaluation

The purpose of this Directive is to manage and reduce the risk of floods, particularly along rivers and in coastal areas. It provides for assessment of the risk of flooding in river basins, the mapping of flood risks in all regions where there is a serious risk of flooding and the drawing up of flood risk management plans based on close cooperation between and the broad participation of Member States.


Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks.


The Directive aims to establish a common framework for assessing and reducing the risk that floods within the European Union pose to human health, the environment, property and economic activity.

The Directive covers all types of floods, both along rivers and in coastal areas. There are also other risks, such as urban floods and sewer floods, which must also be taken into account.

The proposed prevention and management measures are organised by river basin districts (which may cover several river basins), as established by the Water Framework Directive. The measures include the preliminary assessment of risks and the establishment of maps of areas at risk and flood management plans.

Preliminary assessment

Member States must carry out a preliminary assessment of risks for each river basin district or part of a district located in their territory by 22 December 2011 at the latest. This includes gathering information on the boundaries of river basins in the district concerned, floods that have occurred in the past, the likelihood of future floods and the estimated consequences.

On the basis of the assessment, Member States must categorise river basins according to whether or not they have a significant potential flood risk. This assessment and the resulting categories assigned to river basins must be published and reviewed by 22 December 2018 and every six years thereafter.

Flood risk maps

Member States must draw up maps identifying all areas posing a risk of flooding and indicating the probability (high, medium or low) of flooding for each of those areas and the potential damage for local populations, property and the environment.

These maps must be drawn up and published by 22 December 2013 at the latest. They must be reviewed every six years.

Flood risk management plans

Member States must prepare and implement flood risk management plans for each river basin district. Where the area concerned extends into several countries, the Member States must cooperate in preparing, as far as is possible, a single management plan.

In preparing a management plan, appropriate levels of protection must be established for each river basin, sub-basin and stretch of coastline and measures must be drawn up to achieve those levels of protection.

Management measures must focus on reducing the probability of flooding and the potential consequences of flooding. They must cover prevention, protection and preparedness and must take account of relevant aspects, such as water management, soil management, spatial planning, land use and nature conservation. These measures must not increase flood risks in neighbouring countries unless these measures have been coordinated and a solution has been found among the Member States concerned.

Each management plan must contain certain components, including the level of protection, the measures planned, flood risk maps, and, in subsequent management plans, an assessment of the progress made since the last management plan was implemented.

Flood risk maps and management plans must be coordinated with the Water Framework Directive, particularly as regards the characterisation of river basins, management plans for river basins and public consultation and information procedures.

All the parties concerned must be allowed to participate in an appropriate manner in preparing management plans. These plans must be completed and published by 22 December 2015. They must be reviewed every six years.


Between 1998 and 2004, Europe suffered over 100 major floods, causing some 700 fatalities, the displacement of about half a million people and insured economic losses totalling at least 25 billion.

Floods are natural phenomena which cannot be prevented. However, human activity is contributing to increasing their likelihood and their impact. The risk of flooding and the scale of damage will increase in the future as a result of climate change, inappropriate river management, construction in flood risk areas and the increase in people and property in these areas.

Considering that most of the river basins in Europe are shared, action is more effective at Community level, since this allows better risk assessment and the coordination of measures taken by the Member States.

Before drawing up the proposal, the Commission consulted widely with interested parties and took advice from a wide range of experts, from specialists in hydrology and geology to local and regional authorities and the insurance industry.


ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2007/60/EC26.11.200725.11.2009OJ L 288 of 6.11.2007


Commission Communication of 12 July 2004 "Flood risk management - flood prevention, protection and mitigation" [COM(2004) 472 final- Not published in the Official Journal].
Given the risk to human life, property and the environment, the Commission has analysed the measures already adopted and proposed an action programme to prevent floods, protect against them and mitigate their effects.

Last updated: 29.11.2007
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