Case study description

Cities involved: 36 municipalities; focus on the Emilia-Romagna stretch and, in particular, on Rivergaro
Affected Population in Trebbia basin: 98.979 inhabitants
Last flooding episodes: 1953, 2015

This basin, situated in hills and mountains areas, can be hit by intensive rains in the mountain areas, while rains are generally modest in the hills and the plain areas. 56% of the overall population and 11% of the overall surface of the Trebbia sub-river basin are subject to a risk of floods. The recent flooding events (2015) caused 3 deaths and several social and economic damages. To increase local actors’ capacity to prevent and manage floods, the ARTURO project, led by the mayor of Rottofreno, is tested in the Trebbia area. The project aims to provide a smart risk assessment and communication tool for flood risk prevention and management. The digital tool ARTURO integrates georeferenced flood risk data from several sources and provides various types of alerts for local actors in charge of flood management (i.e. mayors) and a set of guidelines for both mayors and citizens on actions to be taken in case of risk of flood events.

Capacity assessment

The social capacity assessment in Trebbia sub-basin revealed that the sub-basin is characterised by:

– A high level of motivation to prevent flood risks at both institutional and community level, especially after the 2015 flood event. Furthermore, both institutions and communities report an interest to collaborate with their pairs and others to prevent, manage and mitigate flood risks;

– The capacity to learn from past events and integrate that knowledge into the flood risks management system, especially at institutional level. After the 2015 flood event, a new flood risks warning system has been implemented at both regional (WebAlert system) and local level (Arturo project). Several infrastructural measures are also Furthermore, some of the changes undertaken at local level are meant to give a higher voice to communities in the prevention and management of flood risks, even though these have not yet been entirely internalised in the flood risks management system.

– A fairly good level of knowledge on flood risks prevention, management and mitigation at the institutional level. Within communities knowledge on flood risks prevention, management and mitigation is embedded especially in civil protection associations and, more in general, volunteers. On the contrary, the large public displays a lower level of knowledge on these issues. While citizens are aware of the emergency telephone numbers and areas at risk of floods, they know almost nothing about areas of assistance in case of floods and measures included in the Civil Protection Plan. Furthermore, most of the surveyed citizens report not feeling ready to face a flood event.

– A well developed information system on flood risks that is, however, considered inadequate by 58% of the surveyed population in the sub-basin. The inadequacy of the system is mostly due to the use of a very technical language that is not accessible to the large public. Furthermore, some of the information is still not available online (i.e. Civil Protection plans).

– Fragmentation of networks of actors involved in flood risks prevention, management and mitigation, especially at local level, and a weak involvement of citizens in this area. There is a good level of collaboration between all actors along Trebbia sub-basin during flood crises, while it is rather limited in the prevention and preparedness phases. Citizens’ presence in the networks on flood risks prevention, management and mitigation is rather weak and almost always limited to the recovery phase. Indeed, citizens’ participation in the flood risks management system is one of the major weaknesses of the flood risks management system in the sub-basin. Currently, participation is limited to one way (top-down) technical communication on flood risks prevention and management, especially in the prevention and preparedness phases. During the recovery phase, citizens become active actors, taking self-organised actions to recover from flood events. However, some improvements are taking place.

Pilot Actions


The participatory process draws on the social capacity assessment drafted in the previous phase and aims to improve social capacities on flood prevention, management and mitigation in Trebbia sub-basin. In particular, it targets policy makers, stakeholders and citizens in two of Trebbia sub-basin municipalities: Rivergaro and Rottofreno.

The process focuses on two social capacities that registered lower levels during the social capacity assessment: knowledge on flood risks and community participation in flood risks policies. It aims on the one hand to improve the information system on flood risks prevention and management and citizens’ knowledge on these risks and on the other hand to increase their active participation in this field.

The participatory process implemented within CAPFLO in the two municipalities includes different phases:

– Phase 1 – Starting the process: organisation and discussion of the participatory process;

– Phase 2 – Collaborating on flood risks prevention and management: implementation of the participatory actions decided previously;

– Phase 3 – Presenting the findings of the process: dissemination of the results of the participatory actions;

– Phase 4 (transversal) – information and communication of the activities of the participatory process.

The participatory process is implemented between March and May 2017.

The first phase of the participatory process concluded on the 14th of March, once with the workshop for the validation of the capacity assessment and selection of participatory actions to be implemented within CAPFLO. During the workshop, IRS presented the results of the capacity assessment process. Participants agreed with the findings of the assessment and no relevant observations were raised. The workshop represented also an occasion to discuss the participatory actions proposed by Avventura Urbana, in charge of organising and implementing the participatory process. Following the discussion of participatory actions, those selected for implementation are:

– Tow participatory walks along Trebbia river (one in Rivergaro and one in Rottofreno);

– An workshop with professionals in this area (i.e.regional and local institutions, Park of Ducato; municipalities of Unione Bassa Val Trebbia e Val Luretta, associations in this area, etc);

– Two workshops with citizens (one in Rottofreno and one in Rivergaro);

– Dissemination of finings through an information campaign at local level.


– Participatory walks along Trebbia river in Rivergaro and Rottofreno

The two participatory walks target citizens, associations and local bodies in the municipality of Rivergaro and Rottofreno. They aim to rediscover the memory the relation between the inhabitants of the two municipalities and Trebbia river and to gather knowledge on citizens’ perception about flood risks and their prevention, management and mitigation in the two municipalities. Furthermore, they aim to build citizens’ awareness on their role in the prevention, management and mitigation of floods. The walks will be guided by inhabitants of the area.

The first walk will take place in Rivergaro on the 29th of April.

– Workshop with professionals in the Flood risks management system

The workshop aims to co-design an addendum to the Arturo app with the main measures to be taken at local level, in particular by citizens, and to define measures for improving the Civil Protection plans of the two municipalities

– Two workshops with citizens

The workshop aims to discuss with citizens the draft measures defined during the workshop with professionals. The aim is to improve the measured designed previously both in terms of their contents and their communication potential. The discussion will focus on the one hand on the perceived utility of the actions proposed and on the other hand on their accessibility to non professional users.

– Dissemination of findings

The dissemination of findings aims to spread knowledge acquired in the previous phases in order to raise awareness of local communities on flood risks, with a particular focus on measures to be taken by citizens to prevent, manage and mitigate flood risks. Two actions are foreseen to ensure a wide dissemination of knowledge gathered during the participatory process: a wide diffusion of the reports produced during the participatory process and the diffusion of postcards with the main messages elaborated during the process in the schools and public bodies from Rottofreno and Rivergaro.