Expect a sharp increase in water damage – E24

Expect a sharp increase in water damage – E24

Twelve Norwegian municipalities will see water damage increase by 40 percent or more over the current level at the turn of the century, a survey shows. – Incidents like Hans' will come often.

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The year 2023 will be remembered by many in Norway for the extreme weather experienced by Hans.

The amounts of rain it brought with it caused serious damage in several municipalities in the southeast of the country.

The year just passed is the costliest year since the natural damage insurance system was established in 1980, according to figures up to the end of November from the Norwegian Natural Damage Complex.

NOK 3.5 billion has been paid out so far this year Compensation for natural damagesCompensation for natural damagesNatural damage means damage that occurs directly as a result of a natural disaster, such as landslides, storms, floods, storm surge, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, and meteorite impacts..

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In the coming years, we can expect a lot of costly water damage from extreme weather, as recent research shows:

Insurance company Gjensidige received help from the Norwegian National Statistics Center to look at how the number of water damages evolved up to the turn of the century in all Norwegian municipalities.

Twelve municipalities will receive a raise of 40 percent or more.

The clustering represents something completely new in modeling the risk of future water damage, according to Jensedig.

– This is important knowledge for society and for Jensedig, says the insurance company's CEO Geir Holmgren.

– What we saw this fall around Hans and the flood situation is an extremely dangerous situation. We expect the frequency of this type of infection to increase in the future, but we do not expect a new type of Hans to actually emerge next year, says Holmgren.

He points out that the extent of the damage will vary slightly from year to year.

– But the risks will increase in the future, and we have a fact-based vision about that. We as a community have to take this seriously,” says Chief Jensedig.

The intensity of rainfall increases

– Global warming is leading to heavier rainfall in Norway, and we have already seen a change, says researcher Erik Kolstad.

He works at the research institute NORCE and is associated with the Perknes Center for Climate Research.

In recent decades, we have seen a significant increase in rainfall intensity, for example in Oslo, says Kolstad.

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The researcher explains that this development comes as a natural result of rising temperatures: warmer air can hold more moisture, to It started raining. This means that air masses contain more moisture today than they did 50-100 years ago.

– As long as the air continues to warm, the intensity and frequency of precipitation will continue to increase, Kolstad says.

Fortunately, there is now positive development regarding the results of the climate negotiations, but it seems realistic that we will not achieve the one and a half degree target. With two degrees of warming, the intensity will increase. He says events like Hans' will come more often and could be more powerful.

– To a very small extent, nothing gets done

Kolstad was not particularly impressed by the work done by Norwegian authorities to prepare the country for climate change.

He points to an inspection report issued by the National Audit Office last spring, in which the authorities' lack of knowledge about where floods and landslides might occur in the coming years was strongly criticized.

– The National Audit Office gave the authorities the green light last year, says Kolstad.

-Something must be done, but very little has been done. I usually say: Are we ready for the climate of the future – but I think we are not even ready for the current climate, he says and continues:

– It is completely inconceivable that we can make all of Norway immune to the consequences of climate change, but we can do something. But it is not a priority.

Kolstad points out that these measures are often very expensive.

– What were we supposed to do in Nisbeen? River removal? He says: We have to learn to live with floods.

Flood over Reixveen: Two weeks after Storm Hans, a new flood, as a result of heavy rains, hit the Hallingdal and Nesbyen rivers.

The big question is: Who will pay the costs of climate adaptation in the future?

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This is what Tryg forsikring's press director Uli Ergens says.

In June, the government came out with the Parliament's message “Climate Change – Together for a Climate Resilient Society.” He emphasized that the municipal sector is a major player in climate adaptation work.

But it contains few concrete measures, Ergens says.

-We are generally concerned about development. He says that we see that the extent of the damage is increasing and that preparedness in the municipalities is very weak.

Ergens believes that we should ask ourselves the question: whether it is right to repair the same damaged areas over and over again, or whether we should encourage municipalities to find new areas for development.

– He says that climate adaptation is a complex issue and costs a lot of money.

– But it is bad social economics to repair the same damage several times.

– Everyone remembers the New Year's tornado

The municipality of Ørland faces the sea to the southwest on Fosenhalvøya in Trøndelag.

Mayor Halger Grüntvedt (Sp) says residents here are not particularly vulnerable to today's severe weather. At least not in the form of precipitation.

-We don't have major challenges with that at our place. We do not have rivers or streams that cause floods. But we have the wind, Gruntvedt says.

– Everyone remembers the New Year's hurricane of 1991-1992. It was fierce. The mayor says such things exist.

When Gruntveit himself intended to build a new house on the edge of the sea five years ago, he was told that the site would have to be raised to take into account future sea level rise.

It was a reminder of what might come.

Orland will have to deal with a significant increase in water damage in the future, according to the results of the Jensedig survey.

Here, the number of water damage is expected to rise by 44 percent in 2100. Only the coastal municipality of Knysna in Nordland saw a larger increase of 47 percent.

Gruntvedt says he's taking the results into account.

– When we review the district part of the municipal plan now, it is surveys like this that we must take into account. Whether it comes to road solutions, residential areas, etc., he says.

Grøntvedt is also the regional leader of the Fosen region and wants to develop a joint plan for the entire region that takes into account the consequences of climate change, but also safety aspects related to the airport in Ørland.

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– We have to think long term and allocate funds. I put that in a larger context. He says: We must be united to achieve more prevention.

Significant regional differences

Jensedeg surveys show that municipalities in Nordland, Trøndelag and western Norway will be most vulnerable to increased water damage.

But a number of municipalities in the far south of the country and in Viken also have to face the fact that these damages increased by 20 percent or more at the turn of the century.

In Vestfold, Telemark, Troms, Finnmark and Inlandet, some municipalities will see an increase of more than 20 percent.

The municipalities of the northern interior regions will not witness any special increase.

Among the country's largest cities, Trondheim (30 percent) and Bergen (29 percent) will be most at risk of increased water damage. Followed by Stavanger (23 percent), Tromsø (17 percent) and Oslo (14 percent).

Damage after the storm: The railway bridge (Randcliffe Bridge) over Gudbrandsdalslagen in Ringbo collapsed following Storm Hans and flooding in Lagen.

A computer model developed by Tryg forsikring shows that over the next decade, the municipalities of Stavanger, Sola and Lillestrom will be the most vulnerable to water damage to homes, due to rainfall and storm water.

Ullensaker and Drammen, which were hit hard, like Lilleström, are among the municipalities most at risk in the coming years.

Tryg's list is based on the company's home insurance portfolio. The model depends, among other things, on how the houses are located in the terrain and where the rainwater generated by rainfall will flow.

I think more money should be allocated

Chief Gjensidige hopes their findings will be used as a starting point for “proper community service”. He believes its goal should be to initiate measures that can reduce the risk of future infections.

CEO Geir Holmgren at Jensedig.

– There may be measures focusing on flood protection, working with building materials and requirements for what buildings should look like in order to become more climate resilient. What type of building permits will be granted in the future? “We have to make sure we build where it's least risky,” Holmgren says.

He points out that flood protection measures will require higher allocations than what the government allocated in the state budget for next year.

– In general, we would have preferred to see ourselves investing more in this type of measure at the regional and national levels, says Holmgren.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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