Breaking the Cycle of “Flood-Rebuild-Repeat”: New White Paper from the Sabin Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council
Since September 2017, Congress has kept the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) afloat with a series of short-term extensions, repeatedly punting on a valuable opportunity to issue a long-term reauthorization and reform the program to better protect communities from the increased risks of flooding spurred by climate change. But the federal government is not the only entity poised to take action. A new white paper from the Sabin Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council, “Breaking the Cycle of “Flood-Rebuild-Repeat”: Local and State Options to Improve Substantial Damage and Improvement Standards in the National Flood Insurance Program,” proposes legal and policy reforms that states and localities can implement to make their communities more resilient and to update the NFIP for the realities of climate change.
Thanks to Chris Jones for the citation.
After two devastating floods in recent years, this historic city is conflicted over how to mitigate against future floods. See: In Ellicott City, painful debate on preventing deadly floods in historic district.
FEMA has radically underestimated how vulnerable Americans are to flooding
Research claims that official estimates lowballed the risk by, uh, about a factor of three.
From Government Technology: Ellicott City Is Hoping DHS’ Flood Apex Program Is a Match Made in Heaven. After two devastating floods in two years, the new technology can’t be deployed quickly enough.
Update: link was fixed.
Historic town suffered it second 1,000 year flood in two years. See: Do You return After Another 1000 year Flood? Some excerpts from the article about the rebuilding efforts there for the past two years:
Funding for water infrastructure programs finally did come through, just three weeks ago, with a little more than $1 million for flood-mitigation in Ellicott City from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
But that will barely get the front-end loaders cranking on a project that’s a $10 million event — for openers.
The planning folks warned everyone this would happen. They issued a 2014 report that detailed what needed to be done to tame those raging waters. And nothing happened. Then, after the 2016 flood, the report was rebooted last June as the “Ellicott City Hydrology/Hydraulic Study and Concept Mitigation Analysis. Conclusion: “The nature and scope of such improvements is significant in scope, impact and cost. It will require a long term planning and implementation effort.”
From the WashPost; Fresh from Hurricane Harvey’s flooding, Houston starts to build anew — in the flood plain
There has to be a better way to rebuild. Any suggestions from readers?
Artificial levees on Mississippi River dramatically increased extreme floods
A new study has revealed for the first time the last 500-year flood history of the Mississippi River. It shows a dramatic rise in the size and frequency of extreme floods in the past century—mostly due to projects to straighten, channelize, and bound the river with artificial levees. The new research also uncovered a clear pattern over the centuries linking flooding on the Mississippi with natural fluctuations of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean water temperatures.
From HSNewswire: Flood risk denial in U.S. coastal communities
Rising sea levels have worsened the destruction that routine tidal flooding causes in the nation’s coastal communities. On the U.S. mainland, communities in Louisiana, Florida and Maryland are most at risk. Stemming the loss of life and property is a complex problem. Elected officials can enact policies to try to lessen the damage of future flooding. Engineers can retrofit vulnerable buildings. But, in the face of a rising tide, changing hearts and minds might be the most formidable obstacle to decreasing the damage done by flooding.