Living with Urban Flooding: A Continuous Learning Process for Local Municipalities and Lessons Learnt from the 2021 Events in Germany

Bert Bosseler, Mirko Salomon, Marco Schlüter , Matteo Rubinato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
117 Downloads (Pure)


In 2021, heavy precipitation events in Germany have confirmed once again that pluvial flooding can cause catastrophic damage in large, medium, and small cities. However, despite several hazard-oriented strategies already in place, to date there is still a lack of integrated approaches to actually preventing negative consequences induced by heavy rainfall events. Furthermore, municipalities across the world are still learning from recent episodes and there is a general need to explore new techniques and guidelines that could help to reduce vulnerability, and enhance the resilience, adaptive capacity, and sustainability of urban environments, considering the already predicted future challenges associated with climate variability. To address this gap, this paper presents the outcomes of the research project “Heavy Rainfall Checklist for Sewer Operation” which was conducted by IKT Institute for Underground Infrastructure, to involve all the stakeholders affected by pluvial flooding within cities, and implement a series of documents that can be adopted by municipalities across the world to support organizations and their operational staff in preventing problems caused by heavy rainfall incidents. More in detail, three different rainfall scenarios have been deeply analysed, and for each of them a list of specific tasks and suggestions has been provided for aiding decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2769
Number of pages20
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funding Information:
Funding: The research was funded by 13 municipal sewer network operators lead by the city of Rheda-Wiedenbrück, and supported by additional funds from the Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (Grant N. AZ 54.08.0854.028/SR-01/17-RW).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Climate change
  • Flood adaptation
  • Flood mitigation
  • Increased urbanization
  • Resilient cities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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