Thursday, June 04, 2015

More about Texas and poor planning

It seems that Texas, and America, has an  ongoing problem with politicians taking not floods (and climate change) seriously:
In the months before deadly flooding in Texas killed at least 24 people, some of the state's politicians objected to the imposition of stricter building standards for federally-funded projects in floodplains.
Engineers said that such standards are needed if taxpayer money is not to be flushed away in the next flood. ...
Texas received a “D” in flood control in a 2012 report on its infrastructure by the state’s section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It ranks among the top states in the country in dollars paid for flood claims — behind Louisiana and New Jersey and ahead of New York and Florida. But it still has no statewide floodplain management plan. Flood mitigation is divided among three state agencies, none of which has full authority to implement capital projects or manage the state’s 23 river basins.

The report warns that the population of Texas is expected to double in the next 30 to 40 years and development in the floodplains will likely increase, both of houses and commercial developments near the state’s streams, rivers and lakes and along the Gulf of Mexico.
Also, it appears the national flood insurance issue is not the "socialist" problem that another article indicated:
Texas is also not a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, though many of its communities are, the report notes. Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding but residents can get insurance through the program provided their community participates. In return communities agree to meet or exceed Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements for reducing the risk of flooding. ..
And as for the problem across the nation:
A strong attachment to private property rights has gotten the United States into a cycle of spiraling flooding losses, said Nicholas Pinter, who in August will join the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Mitigation is far more expensive than avoiding floodplains in the first place, he said.

“This is a not a short-term problem in Texas, this is a nation-wide imbalance,” he said. “This is the history of our development, management of our floodplains.”

After massive flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers in 1993, the country spent $87 million in taxpayer funds to remove flooded structures, and stayed off the floodplain for three to five years, he said. But 10 years later, $2.2 billion of new infrastructure had been built on land that was under water.

“That’s the problem, it’s one step forward, two steps back,” he said.

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