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A Comparison Of Flood Management Practices Between Germany And The Usa: An Undergraduate Research Project On Sustainable Practices

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.20.1 - 12.20.9

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Paper Authors


Leslie Schick-Richards Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

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Leslie Schick-Richards is a senior studying environmental science. She participated in the GO GREEN study abroad course and the sustainable undergraduate research program during the summer of 2006 in Germany. Leslie spent four weeks with the research team at the Instititute for Water management and Ecotechnology learning the European Water Framework Directive, which was developed for a holistic approach to water management throughout Europe.

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Patricia Fox Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

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Patricia Fox is the Associate Dean for Administration and Finance and Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership and Supervision in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). In addition to her administrative duties, Pat teaches various courses in the Department of Organizational Leadership and Supervision. Pat currently serves as the Past Chair of the Engineering Technology Council of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). She has taught several summers at the Berufsakademie Mannheim since 1999. She holds an MBA from Butler University.

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Robert Juepner University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal (FH), Germany


Manuela Tzschirner Institute for Water Management and Ecotechnology, Magdeburg, Germany

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Manuela Tzschirner is a research associate in the Institute for Water Management and Ecotechnology in Magdeburg, Germany. She does research on various aspects of water management and has been working on the European Framework Directive as it applies to the holistic approach to water management in Germany.

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Stephen Hundley Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

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Stephen P. Hundley is Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership and Supervision in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where he teaches human resources management and leadership development. Prior to his appointment at IUPUI, Stephen worked in training, human resources, and management consulting. He regularly speaks on higher education and human resources issues to a variety of audiences. Stephen holds a Ph.D. from American University, and is certified by the Society for Human Resource Management as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. Stephen has taught summers at the Berufsakademie, Mannheim since 1999.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Comparison of Flood Management Practices between Germany and the USA: An Undergraduate Research Project on Sustainable Practices


The Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) offers a three credit hour study abroad course which focuses on sustainable development, globalization, and German culture. Undergraduate students have an option to add another three credit hour sustainable research project to their studies while in Germany. Students can select a sustainable project and work with one of a number of different German industries, municipalities, or universities or they can elect to conduct an individually designed sustainable project on their own. This paper will feature highlights from one student’s project, who worked with faculty and researchers at the University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal (FH), Germany and the Institute for Water Management and Ecotechnology for four weeks during the summer of 2006. The student’s research project focused on the flooding practices of Germany and the European Union and comparisons with those in the United States.

This paper will also provide information about how this undergraduate research program works for students, faculty, and mentors. Issues for practices and future research will be addressed.


Today, one sixth of the world’s inhabitants are estimated to live in the potential path of a 100- year flood and, unless preventative efforts are implemented on a world wide basis, that number could double or more in two generations 1. In addition, approximately 140 people are killed annually and six billion dollars in property damage is caused by flooding events each year in the United States 2. In Europe, flooding is the most common type of natural disaster. Floods can kill people, make them ill, leave them homeless, damage property, and/or pollute the environment, which is why taking a holistic view of flood awareness, prevention, and management is so important in today’s world.

Flooding is a natural part of the hydrological cycle but has become an all too frequent risk due to climate changes3, especially given improper construction and management of water plains with enlarged population located in flood risk zones. The United States and Germany are both marked with abundant rivers that are often prone to flooding.

European National and Transnational Water Management System

There are three major rivers in Europe that thread through many different countries. The need for cooperation for river management between countries is taken seriously in those countries. Problem with water quality, modified water bodies, insufficient river continuity, deficits in migration of species, floods and droughts are just some of the issues that are addressed. The European Union developed a Water Framework Directive where all countries had to report on the status of their rivers by the end of 2004. The report showed that many rivers and stream had been straightened or modified, many were still polluted, banks were changed from their natural form and almost all flood plains had been cut off by dikes.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015