Flood Risk Management
Call for a National Strategy
Task Committee on Flood Safety Policies and Practices; edited by Robert Traver, Ph.D., P.E.
2014 / 46 pp.
Free download of the report in PDF format from the ASCE Library.
Prepared by the Task Committee on Flood Safety Policies and Practices of ASCE
In 2005, the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina graphically revealed the vulnerability of U.S. communities to the loss of life and property resulting from flooding. In the aftermath, the American Society of Civil Engineers issued a call for action to address growing flood losses and threats to public safety. Then, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy found the nation still unprepared and unaware of the magnitude of flood risk.
ASCE charged a task committee with investigating the extent to which the lessons learned from the failure of the hurricane protection system during Hurricane Katrina have been incorporated into the planning, design, construction, and management of engineered water resources projects. The investigation would provide a basis for influencing changes in national policy and engineering practice related to flood safety. The committee met with government agencies, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and those affected by Katrina and subsequent disasters. The committee concluded that the federal government, in close collaboration with state, tribal, and local governments, concerned public and private organizations, and the public at large, must develop and use forward-thinking flood risk management processes. Doing so would reduce the nation’s vulnerability to dangers and damages resulting from floods while concurrently protecting natural resources, enhancing the functions of floodplains, and supporting wise and sustainable economic development of appropriate coast and river areas.
A must-read for key decision-makers and any member of the public living on or near water, this report highlights the difference between doing what we’ve been doing—reactively recover from catastrophic events—and doing what we must do—proactively minimize the life-changing impacts of floods and hurricanes.