In March 2019, flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers has left the levee system damaged beyond the point of repair for many farmers in Midwestern states.
Many residents consider relocation to be the only valid option as water levels are rising every time the rivers flood. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given the country’s levee system a D grade, meaning significant investment is needed if it is ever to be improved.
The New York Times reports and asks some tough questions:
“The recent flooding — which has devastated farms, roads and Native American reservations — has pushed to the foreground a debate that has raged quietly for generations. It boils down to this: How should the rivers be controlled, who should make those decisions and how much protection should be given to those most vulnerable?”
Landowners in Missouri are fed up with the constant battle against climate change.
Their levees have been perfectly adequate for years, and now with every event, the waters rise higher, making it impossible to know how big the levees need to be actually to hold back the water that will inevitably come.
Flood control and infrastructure upgrades need to be a priority in these high-risk areas.
Residents would like to stay put and rebuild their flooded land, but the reality is that it might be easier to move further away from the river banks and start over.
Levees may no longer be the answer to flood control in the Midwest, but nobody knows what kind of system could better solve the flooding issues.
Keeping on top of demand change analysis and forecasts will allow for timely conversations with broad communities rather than waiting for expensive failures to occur.
PHOTO AND CAPTION CREDIT: The National Guard via Flickr Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0).