In the past decade frequently occurring floods claimed thousands of lives and caused economic loss of billions US dollars. Among them the Mississippi River flood in 1993, the Rhine River flood in 1995, the Yangtze River flood in 1998, the Haihe River flood in 1996, and the storm surges in Bangladesh in 1991 are the most devastating. It is evident that both the frequency and intensity of flooding are increasing.
The first International Symposium on Flood Defence in Sep. 2000, initiated by Profs. Toensmann and Koch, attracted more than 200 scientists and engineers gathering in Kassel University discussing the ever-increasing concerned problems and sharing experiences and strategies for flood defence. Many scientists suggested to continue the technical forum and the Tsinghua University (one of the top universities of China) and the International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation (IRTCES) are organizing the Second International Symposium on Flood Defence (ISFD'2002) scheduled on Sep. 10-13, 2002. The purpose of the conference is to review the state-of-the-art of the studies on flooding and engineering and non-engineering strategies. The symposium will focuses on a better understanding laws of flooding and environmental problems involved, different perspectives evolved, climate change and its impact on extreme hydrological events, and reporting new approaches to the study and flood control strategies.
More than ever before, the Chinese government is committed to ensure better and sustainable environment for future generations. For this purpose it launched the well-known Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River and the Xiaolangdi Reservoir on the Yellow River and is going to construct the so-called South-to-North Water Transfer Project. The symposium in China will provide not only a forum for exchange of the latest development in flood defence but also a chance for the participants of the conference to see the development of hydraulic engineering in China.
The symposium is designed to attract researchers, practitioners, educators and public officials working or interested in flood control. Researchers will have the opportunity to share recent findings and techniques, and to describe applications of new approaches with innovative methodologies to flooding problems. Practitioners can present recent experiences and discuss problems needing research, both in formal and informal settings. Educators can participate in organized discussions on issues in continuing education and training and share current efforts linking education, practice, and research. Public officials charged with responsibility for flood control and environmental quality will benefit from hearing current trends in research and applications, and can alert the profession to evolving needs in research and application.
The symposium will be held in Beijing, the capital city of China with a history of 3000 years. Beijing is the cultural, political, and tourism center of China with many hotels of international standards and convenient transportation and communication facilities. The city proper extends over 16,800 sq.km, with population over 10 million. The autumn is the most beautiful season of the area with temperature between 16-30 ℃.
The “Second International Symposium on Flood Defence” was held in the China Hall of Science and Technology, Beijing China from 10 – 13 September 2002. The Tsinghua University, the Research Center on Flood and Drought Disaster Reduction of the Ministry of Water Resources of China, the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research and the International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation, are the organizers of the conference. The symposium attracted more than 200 researchers, practitioners, educators and public officials working or interested in flood control from about 35 countries and regions. At the opening ceremony, Madame Zhengying Qian, vice president of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Mr. Jingping E, Secretary-general of the State Flood Control & Drought Relief of China, and vice minister of the water resources of China, Dr. Erich Plate, ex-president of the International Association for Hydraulic Engineering Research, Prof. Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, the president of the International Association for Hydrological Sciences, Prof. van Stokkom, Director of the East Netherlands Department of the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Mr. Richard Reidinger, Water Resources Economist of the World Bank, and Prof. Zhangzhi Cen, Vice president of the Tsinghua University made opening addresses. Qian Zhengying said China's flood protection strategies are moving from fighting floods living with floods in a sustainable manner. Only by finding outlets for massive seasonal floodwaters can China develop its estimated 1 million square kilometres of populous and fertile alluvial river plains and be in harmony with floods.
The symposium provided a forum for reviewing the state-of-the-art of the studies on flooding and engineering and non-engineering strategies. It focused on a better understanding of flooding and environmental problems, different perspectives evolved, climate change and its impact on extreme hydrological events, and reporting new approaches to the study and flood control strategies. This aspect of the Symposium was highlighted by eleven keynote and ten invited papers given by distinguished international scientists and roughly three hundred contributed manuscripts. The symposium provided also a chance for the participants to see the development of hydraulic engineering in China.
During the conference, a standing committee of International Symposia on Flood Defence was erected. The tasks of the committee are to review the state-of-art of the studies on flooding and engineering and non-engineering strategies, select the theme, venue and organizers of the symposia. In the first committee meeting, Dr. Erich Plate was elected as the chairperson, an office of the secretariat was decided to be established and maintained at the Research Center on Flood and Drought Disaster Reduction of the Ministry of Water Resources of China, and the next symposium was decided to be held in the city of Nijmegen, the Netherlands in the Spring of 2005.
The keynote and invited lectures were outstanding. While the numbers and content of them are too extensive to summarize here, only the titles of the keynote lectures are listed:
Erich Plate, University of Karlsruhe, Germany: Early warning system of the Mekong
Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, Yamanashi University, Japan: Floods and society, a never-ending evolutional relation
Ir. Hein van Stokkom, the East Netherlands Department of the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the Netherlands: Flood defence in the Netherlands; a new era, a new approach
Roger A. Falconer, Cardiff University, U.K.: Catchment Flood Management: a U.K. Perspective and Experience
Pierre Julien, Colorado State University, USA: Flashflood and sediment transport modeling of small watersheds
Bella Petry, International Institute for Infrastructural, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, the Nertherlands: Flood defense issues and strategies-the complementary character of structural and non-structural measures to cope with floods
Yeou-koung Tung, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China: Risk-based design and analysis of flood defence systems
Colin Green, representative of the World Bank: Flood Management from the Perspective of Integrated Water Resource Management
Wolfgang Kron, Munich Reinsurance Company, Germany: Flood Disasters and Insurance: Flood risk = hazard ´ exposure ´ vulnerability
Joseph H.W. Lee, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China: Urban flood control in Hong Kong
Xiaotao Cheng, the Research Center on Flood and Drought Disaster Reduction of the Ministry of Water Resources of China. China: Changes of flood control situations in the coastal region of China and adjustments of flood management strategies