Riga’s Climathon: Floods in the city

The Climate-KIC Climathon is a global 24-hour climate change event which will take place simultaneously in major cities around the world on 28 October 2016. 

In Riga the Climate-KIC Climathon will begin on the morning of the 28 October IDT and finish on the following day. It is organised by Riga Technical university to create new solutions to resolve flooding in the city.

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The Challenge

According to EEA (2012a), climate change and the associated increase in the frequency of flood events are one of the important parameters that may affect the performance of conventional water and wastewater systems in urban areas. In predictions by Roeckner and Kirk (2013) state that there might be a high increase in rainfall in cities like Riga (Latvia) with 1 to 5 times higher risk of heavy rainfalls.

Rain water management in Latvia is regulated by the national legislation in the field of environment, construction and land drainage, enforced at the local (municipal level) through construction control (mainly during the process of technical design). Maintenance of the rainwater management infrastructure is mainly ensured by local municipalities or municipal water companies. Legislation and existing practice in rainwater management in Latvia may be considered relatively outdated due to lack of attention and financing during the past 20 years.
There is a large need for capacity building in Latvia itself, thus much knowledge and technology is currently being transferred into the country (Latvian Ministry of Education and Science, 2014). However, expertise of the leading Latvian players in the rainwater management and monitoring field may be of interest to the immediate neighbours – Estonian and Lithuanian institutions and companies.

The mean average annual temperature in the Riga planning region is around 5.5°C and the annual precipitation is around 700 -720 mm, including around 490 mm in the warmer months of the year. Between 1954 and 2012, average annual precipitation has increased by 20 mm (around 3% of annual average). Medium-term forecast for precipitation amount increase is around 20% for more frequent rain events (2-5 years) and 17-18% for less frequent rain events (10-200 years).

In recent years the occurrence of extreme rain events has increased. For example, in the period of four days between August 8-12, 2014, rain events with a statistical occurrence frequency of once in 5 years (38 mm in 12 hours), once in 10 years (43mm in 12 hours) and once in 20 years (52 mm in 24 hours) occurred in Riga.

The groundwater resources are plentiful in the Riga planning region, with the exception of Riga area, where due to high concentration of water users (centralized water extraction sites of Riga, proximity of Jurmala, Jelgava and other cities) water extraction is higher than the natural recharge of the aquifer and with increasing water consumption there is a risk of regional depression and seawater intrusion.

Pitching to expert judges

The Climathon event will culminate in presentation of each group’s idea in front of panel members who will provide valuable feedback. The panel is comprised of different science and business experts.

Partners

Riga Technical University

How to join the Climathon

How will you benefit from participating in Climathon?

  • Help solve your city’s local climate challenge, and make your city more resilient to climate change
  • Network with local leaders from academia, business and public authorities
  • Develop your skills in public speaking, innovative thinking, prioritisation, and explore new tools and methodologies
  • Join forces with other like-minded entrepreneurs and innovators
  • Become a part of a global community working together to take climate action!

Register your interest now to join the Climathon global movement and drive climate action

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