About The Resilience Institute

The Resilience Institute is part of WWU Huxley’s College of the Environment. It facilitates scholarship, education, and practice on reducing social and physical vulnerability through sustainable community development, as a way to minimize loss and enhance recovery from disasters in Washington State and its interdependent global communities.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The future of flooding

Today, Alex Prud'homme wrote an interesting opinion piece in the New York Times entitled There Will Be Floods. The piece discusses the likely increases in levee failure. As Pred'homme states, levees fail and reach their limit - rodents and tree roots, land subsidence and rising water and trigger events like earthquakes.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees many of the nations levees, has suffered budget losses for decades. This, as more development occurs behind levees and deterioration of existing levees grows. The Corps has listed 122 levees as at risk of failure, 19 of which are in Washington State. While the Netherlands has moved towards levees that protect against a 1 in 10,000 year event, many of our levees do not even meet the 1 in 100 year flood event protection criteria. With this rather depressing statistics, Prud'homme argues that the situation may be an opportunity to work towards a greener flood management system, one that combines current levees construction and dredging with wetlands and land use restrictions.

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