At the German Research Centre for Geosciences - GFZ in Potsdam flood damage data are collected. Flood protection and prevention measures can consequently be better assessed.

Flood damage can cause losses running into the billions of Euros in Germany. With the flood damage database HOWAS 21, a globally unique data basis for research into flood damage has been created by GFZ scientists. The data serve to improve understanding of the damage processes which take place during floods, to develop modern damage models, and to assess the effectiveness of precautionary measures.

The assessment of economic damage is an important component when taking decisions on future flood protection measures on the basis of cost-benefit analyses. However, compared with other areas of hydrology and water management only few data on flood damage exist.

HOWAS 21 is an object-specific flood damage database for Germany, in which cases of loss from the sectors of private households, business and industry, traffic routes, watercourses and hydrau­lic engineering infrastructure are stored.