Potential for the complementary and integrative use of citizen science and modern science in flood risk reduction: A case study from Sri Lanka

Vihanga Amarakoon, Gayan Dharmarathne, Ranjith Premasiri, Mahua Mukherjee, Rajib Shaw, Deepthi Wickramasinghe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study sheds light on the complementation of citizen science, powered by indigenous knowledge and self-experience and modern science to reduce the flood risk. A questionnaire survey was conducted to recognize the perception of the community residing in the Kalu river basin which is frequently flooded, on floods, its impacts, causes, spatio-temporal changes and the possible solutions for mitigating the flood impacts. Data were analysed using statistical methods along with GIS and RS techniques and compared with scientific literature. The results exposed that the insights of the residents on the occurrence of high impact floods and Land Use Land Cover changes matched with scientific information. The indigenous knowledge gained throughout many centuries, influences on the attitudes and makes the residents prepare for floods. Also, the residents practice many measures to reduce risk. However, the residents prioritize engineering solutions over Nature-based solutions in flood risk reduction which can be attributed to the lack of awareness on ecosystem services. We conclude that the joint use of citizen science and scientific information is necessary to improve better understanding on the flood risk. Nevertheless, it is important to re-consider whether such outcomes reach the policy makers and the communities effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104331
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Volume103
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar

Keywords

  • Citizen science
  • Floods
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Kalu river basin
  • Sri Lanka

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology

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