Preparation for and response to both floods and drought in the future should be based on integrated studies of physical and social conditions using climatic, hydrological and economic models. Epidemiological research is required to determine the medium- and long-term effects of floods and drought on health.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends undertaking flood and drought management, including risk analysis and environmental and social impact assessment.
In a demonstration of the ability of wetlands to reduce flooding, the US Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) elected to acquire and preserve wetlands along the Charles River in Massachusetts through acquisition rather than construct extensive flood damage reduction facilities. Through the purchase of 8,115 acres of wetlands, the Corps reduced flood damage and preserved other wetland functions that would have been lost. The annual cost of the project averaged $617,000 and the annual benefits averaged $2.1 million.