Throughout the world, flood risk management and water management have grown in importance over recent decades, driven by climatic changes coinciding with urbanisation. As part of his PhD at the Flood Hazard Research Centre, research student Ali Alahmari investigated sustainable stormwater management for urban areas in Saudi Arabia.
Although Saudi Arabia is located within an environment characterised by dry climatic conditions, some Saudi cities have been exposed to short durations of heavy rainfall resulting in sudden surface water flooding. This has had a significant impact, including the destruction of infrastructure, resulting in human, material and economic losses.
Several key issues might be contributing to the emergence of this issue: the rapid development of cities and urbanisation; the lack of a storm-water drainage network system covering urban areas; and certain rules and regulations which exist regarding the mechanism of dealing with rainwater and induction to control the path of the water. Ali also set out to discover if the full range of possible flood management measures is currently being considered in Saudi and – if not - the reasons why, both at a professional and public level.
Ali is undertaking qualitative and quantitative social research in two Saudi cities affected by continued flood events. In the context of wider flood risk management measures, he is investigating the potential of adopting various types of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) for urban areas in Saudi Arabia. Using the views of stakeholders, the SUDS techniques will be explored to reveal their physical appropriateness and the governance and social contexts that might enable their consideration in Saudi.
Indirectly, Ali's study also explores issues surrounding the undertaking of social research in Saudi Arabia.