Government Technology

    Digital Communities
    Industry Members

  • Click sponsor logos for whitepapers, case studies, and best practices.
  • McAfee

Better Levees Cannot Fully Eliminate Risk of New Orleans Flooding Again


Katrina Cars
Katrina Cars

April 24, 2009 By

Photo: New Orleans, La., Aug. 30, 2005 - Cars parked on the New Orleans streets are flooded to the top of the wheel wells. (Marty Bahamonde/FEMA)

The National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council have come out with their final report which says voluntary relocation of people and neighborhoods from areas that are vulnerable to flooding should be considered "a viable public policy option."

The long and short of it is that that no matter how large or sturdy new levees and floodwalls surrounding New Orleans are constructed, they cannot provide absolute protection against overtopping or failure in extreme events.

According to a news statement released today, the report is the fifth and final one to provide recommendations to the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET), formed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to examine why New Orleans' hurricane-protection system failed during Hurricane Katrina and how it can be strengthened.

The conclusions of the committee preparing the report was that levees and floodwalls should only be viewed as a way to reduce risks from hurricanes and storm surges, not as measures that could completely eliminate risk.

The report adds that, as with any structure built to protect against flooding, the New Orleans the hurricane-protection system - a 350-mile structure network - promoted a false sense of security that areas behind the structures were absolutely safe for habitation and development.

Comprehensive flood planning and risk management should be based on a combination of structural and nonstructural measures, including the option of voluntary relocations, floodproofing and elevation of structures, and evacuation, the committee urged. Rebuilding the New Orleans area and its hurricane-protection system to its pre-Katrina state would leave the city and its inhabitants vulnerable to similar disasters. Instead, settlement in areas most vulnerable to flooding should be discouraged, and some consideration should be given to new designs of the New Orleans metro hurricane-protection system.

For structures in hazardous areas and residents who do not relocate, the committee recommended major floodproofing measures -- such as elevating the first floor of buildings to at least the 100-year flood level and strengthening electric power, water, gas, and telecommunication infrastructure.

For more information, see http://national-academies.org/studycommitteprocess.pdf.

 


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Digital Cities & Counties Survey: Best Practices Quick Reference Guide
This Best Practices Quick Reference Guide is a compilation of examples from the 2013 Digital Cities and Counties Surveys showcasing the innovative ways local governments are using technological tools to respond to the needs of their communities. It is our hope that by calling attention to just a few examples from cities and counties of all sizes, we will encourage further collaboration and spark additional creativity in local government service delivery.
Wireless Reporting Takes Pain (& Wait) out of Voting
In Michigan and Minnesota counties, wireless voting via the AT&T network has brought speed, efficiency and accuracy to elections - another illustration of how mobility and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology help governments to bring superior services and communication to constituents.
Why Would a City Proclaim Their Data “Open by Default?”
The City of Palo Alto, California, a 2013 Center for Digital Government Digital City Survey winner, has officially proclaimed “open” to be the default setting for all city data. Are they courageous or crazy?
View All