Flash floods are among the most destructive natural disasters in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. They are sudden events that allow very little time to react, and they often occur in remote and isolated mountain catchments where few, if any, institutions exist that are equipped to deal with disaster mitigation. Flash flood mitigation is generally addressed by community-based organizations, local non-governmental organizations, or district and local-level staff in government organizations. But these groups often lack adequate understanding of the processes causing flash floods and knowledge of flash flood risk management measures.
To support the training of planners and practitioners in managing flash flood risk, in 2008 ICIMOD published two modules of a resource manual which focused on community-based management and non-structural measures. This publication, the third module of the series, deals with structural measures. It presents bioengineering techniques, physical measures for slope stabilization and erosion control, and physical measures for river training. The measures described are simple yet effective; they can be implemented using local and low-cost materials with a minimum of external materials and technical support and a low environmental impact. The publication also presents the concept of integrated flood management as a component of integrated water resource management. It emphasizes that structural measures are most effective and sustainable when implemented together with appropriate non-structural measures. The manual is aimed at junior to mid-level professionals with a civil engineering background working on flash flood risk management at the district level.