In the aftermath of the October 2015 Alexandria Flood Challenges of an Arab city to deal with extreme rainfall storms

C. Zevenbergen*, B. Bhattacharya, R. A. Wahaab, W. A I Elbarki, T. Busker, C. N A Salinas Rodriguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The October 2015 storm in Alexandria led to flooding of historical proportions. Although this October storm was a rare event (≈1:50 year), it could have been predicted at least 1 week in advance. If an appropriate warning system had been in place, measures could have been taken to alleviate its consequences. Therefore, the use of rainfall forecasting in storm water modelling can be one of the first useful and cheap mitigation measures. This forecasting system may further allow employing Anticipatory Water Management. The latter would imply that a large extra retention reservoir would be made available by pumping the water out from lakes of the city (Lake Maryot and Airport Lake) before it rains. Further research will be required to assess the technical and economic aspects of this option. The high variability and uncertainty of rainfall call for a robust and flexible strategy for Alexandria, which considers a portfolio of measures able to absorb the negative consequences of extreme events (designed for exceedance). This strategy should enable the responsible authorities to map out the future of the drainage system across the city over the next two or three decades and to identify the tipping point when upgrading of the existing drainage and irrigation system will be required. It will also provide the required evidence base on which a long-term wastewater and sewerage plan for Alexandria City should be implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-917
Number of pages17
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Extreme events
  • Rainfall forecasting
  • Urban floods


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