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Inadequate mapping of flood and landslide hazards

The government mapping of flood and landslide hazards is inadequate. Many municipalities are not sufficiently well prepared for flood and landslide hazards. They lack the expertise required to utilise the government mapping, and many are unaware of their legal liability. -Municipalities have a duty to improve their flood and landslide expertise, and government agencies must take much greater responsibility for ensuring that this is done, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 4/15/2010 12:30 PM

Document 3:4 (2009–2010) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into the efforts of the authorities to limit flood and landslide hazards was submitted to the Storting on 15 April 2010.

Large parts of Norway are naturally at risk of floods and landslides. Prevention is an important task for the authorities. The Office of the Auditor General's investigation shows a varying degree of national mapping of flood, quick clay and landslide hazards. At the end of 2008, there were nearly 66,000 buildings in the mapped hazard areas, and about 160,000 people lived in these areas.

Susceptibility maps for rockslides and snow avalanches have been drawn up to help municipalities to assess which areas to map in more detail. The Office of the Auditor General's investigation shows that the existence of these susceptibility maps is not sufficiently known in the municipalities or among the county governors. - Few of those that have received such maps carry out the necessary follow-up studies, says Jørgen Kosmo.

Municipalities largely comply with the flood and landslide information they receive from expert agencies, but the investigation nonetheless shows that a number of municipalities did not have an adequate understanding of the legal basis and their responsibilities. Many of the municipalities lack flood and landslide expertise, and they have not received the help they need from government agencies. The investigation also shows that county governors and municipalities do not know how to take climate changes into consideration in their work on limiting flood and landslide hazards.
 
The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Ministry of the Environment find the investigation relevant and useful to their future work. As of 1 January 2009, the Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE) took over overriding national responsibility for the prevention of all forms of landslides, and it will apply the same model that the agency has used in its flood prevention work. Responsibility for landslides was transferred from several government agencies to NVE in order to improve government administration.

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