People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image

Flood governance: from “taming the floods” to “managing the risks”


Thursday, September 1st 2016 - 16:00 to 17:00 hrs

Building 19, Room 106, JCU Townsville Campus
Missaka Hettiarachchi
Missaka Hettiarachchi

Abstract: Flood management is governed by complex social, economic, and environmental factors. However conventional flood management often ignores this complexity. Conventional approaches have focused on “taming the flood” with hard engineering techniques that  have increased the long-term overall flood risks in watersheds. In this seminar I will analyse the past century of conventional flood management projects in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where every new generation of flood managers has inherited a more intransigent flood problem from their predecessors. I will highlight the governance process which enabled this conventional flood management approach to continue, despite repeated failure. Finally I will examine emergent strands of flood management, including “environmentally responsible risk management”, “ecological disaster risk reduction”, and “natural and nature based flood management”,  and discuss the governance barriers to their successful adoption in emerging developing countries such as Sri Lanka.

Biography: Dr. Missaka Hettiarachchi is a Senior Fellow in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Environment and Disaster Management program. He was a principle contributor in developing WWF’s Flood Green Guide Framework and has also worked on post-disaster environmental planning and management in many countries including Haiti, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines. Missaka is also actively involved in research on environmental governance in Australia and Sri Lanka.


Australian Research Council Pandora

Partner Research Institutions

Partner Partner Partner Partner
Coral Reef Studies