Local Government Profile
Karlstad - Sweden
Peter Kullgren
“Karlstad is among the cities in Sweden that has the highest risk for flooding. The city is well prepared and does extensive prevention and mitigation work. On behalf of the city, I accepted the 2013 Sasakawa Certificate of Merit for demonstrating excellence in innovation, outreach and collaboration to improve resilience to disasters”.
Website of the city : www.karlstad.se
Size : 5500 sq km
Population : 2013 - 87,000
Part Of : Sweden
Hazards : Epidemic & Pandemic, Flood, Land Slide, Storm Surge, Technical Disaster, Wild Fire

Integrated flood and environmental management, climate change adaptation and community participation

City of Karlstad is located on the larges delta in northern Europe, where the river Klarälven flows into Lake Vänern. It´s geographical location has lead to a unique city design that is attractive to both citizens and tourists. But the location of the city also contributes to significant risk of flooding from both high flows in the river and high water levels in Vänern. The city also has also had problems with ice jams. However, flooding from Klarälven and Vänern is not the only risk the municipality has, it also must meet the challenges of adapting to a changeing climate. To make the city resilient to the consequences of a change climate, we also have to prepare our sewage system and other infrastructure that are vulnerable to floods. The Swedish Civil and Contingencies Agency has identified Karlstad as the city in Sweden with the largest number of people likely to be affected by a 100-year flood.
In 2007 Karlstad began to develop a strategy to address flood risk problems in the municipality. At that time a flood risk management coordinator was employed. The strategy resulted in a Flood Risk Management Programme which was completed and embraced by the City Council in 2010. The programme is now reflected in all the municipal strategic documents.Disaster risk reduction is a prioritized area in the municipality. Every employed are taken a course in climate change, where flood risk are one important part they learn about. There is a Crises Management Committee where the Municipality Director together with the Director of Rescue Services is leading the work when the city is flooded. Karlstad Region Rescue Services is an organization consisting of five neighbouring municipalities. They are responsible for the Risk and Vulnerability Plans and are together with the Technical Service and Property Management Department and the City Planning Department also responsible for the contingency plan for flooding that are under construction. This contingency plan will be a tool for the inventory work of objects important to society of flood risks together with a priority list of which objects are to be rescued at different flood risk. The contingency plan will be an important instrument in the flood risk management and during an emergency event. The contingency plan involves many different stakeholders from both the municipality and from civil society. The Technical Service and Property Management Department are working on many levels to secure infrastructure. The sewage system is looked over and check valves are placed into storm water outlets that are at risk. Planning for open storm water systems with infiltration dams to retain the water is done. An inventory of important roads are done with GIS, including how they can be secured from flooding and what alternative roads can be used.