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Low-Lying Alexandria Must Adjust to Rising Waters

Alexandria, Virginia's waterfront was built on landfill below the natural elevation of the Potomac River. City officials hope to build new seawalls to protect that area from floods.
September 18, 2018, 8am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Potomac River
Jerry Regis

Alexandria, Virginia floods regularly. "These floods do not yet severely affect the infrastructure in the flood zone, but the city has a significant maintenance budget nonetheless," Rita Abou Samra reports for Greater Greater Washington. These small floods can carry debris into the city and disrupt transit around the waterfront. But officials worry that with climate change making "100-Year Storms" more common, the city could suffer something worse than a waterlogged coast.

Alexandria has moved the Old Dominion Boat Club and intends to implement some flood calming measures. "Among them: a continuous riverfront promenade that acts as a seawall and protects against rising waters, which the currently fragmented shoreline does not," Abou Samra reports. Implementing flood protection looks to be a long process that the city hopes to complete in phases, beginning with shoreline improvements and moving inland from there.

"The new waterfront plan aims to preserve the area's history, reclaim its parks and make them more usable for more people, and to mitigate the impacts of floods," Samra reports.

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Published on Thursday, September 13, 2018 in Greater Greater Washington
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