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Keywords:

  • Alert system;
  • dam system operation;
  • flood management;
  • forecast system;
  • Grijalva River;
  • hydraulic infrastructure;
  • Tabasco;
  • territorial ordinance;
  • Villahermosa

Abstract

From 28 to 30 October 2007, exceptional rainfall fell in the Grijalva River Basin, in Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexico, producing huge runoff and flooding in about 70% of the Tabasco flatlands. More than 1 million people were affected, mostly in the city of Villahermosa. In southeastern Mexico, flooding damages have increased in the last decades, due to population growth and human settlements developing in areas prone to flooding. A preliminary analysis is made of the causes of the disaster and of the possible courses of action that could be taken to prevent similar situations in the future. The hydrometeorological occurrence of the phenomenon is reviewed, and the operation and management of dams and other flood control system components, including forecast and alert procedures, are assessed. Recommendations are made on integrated flood management, joint operational policies of infrastructure, a territorial ordinance plan, forecast needs, social participation, training, and information dissemination among the population and stakeholders.