New or improved flood protection can give a false sense of security – the so-called ‘levee effect’. But climate change is unpredictable, meaning ‘residual risk’ always exists and must be planned for.
Flood risks are rising, yet communities may spend millions of dollars in federal infrastructure funding on systems that aren’t built to handle them.
Flood risks are rising as the climate warms. The risks are complex, as a levee or new roadway in one place can worsen flooding somewhere else.
At a time when storms are becoming more frequent and severe, relying on levees for flood control can create as many problems as it solves.
As Houston continues to rescue residents whose homes were ruined, it also begins to deal with issues related to contaminated floodwaters and overflowing reservoirs. It won’t be easy.