UNU-EHS Master students took a close look at the flood protection center in Cologne, Germany, yesterday. As part of the coursework for the joint Master programme “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” by UNU-EHS and the University of Bonn, they met with the deputy director of the center and learned the ins- and –outs of municipal drainage operations.
Dr. Marlene Willkomm, the deputy director of the center, gave a presentation about the operations, history and monitoring mechanisms of the institute, such as the “Flood Information and Warning System (FLIWAS)”.
When it came to flood protection planning in the city, in terms of structural flood protections measures, the students showed great interest and engaged in the discussion about community involvement and the covering of costs. Here, they learned about the “plan-approval procedure” in which citizens have the opportunity to voice their opinions about proposed protection plans by the municipality, and also about state-subsidies to which private home owners are eligible if they take care of flood protection themselves.
After the visit to the flood protection center, Dr. Willkomm led the students on an excursion through parts of the old city of Cologne, where they were able to examine the structural flood protection, such as installations for mobile flood barriers and a large storage unit for these and other protection means close to the Rhine.