Water Wins Every Time

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I guarantee you that someday, we as the top dog of the planetary populace, will get it right. We will ultimately make the needed adjustments to address global warming. Ignorance will finally lose when reality finally sets in.

Because water wins every time.

Large urban areas like Houston, TX or Norfolk, VA are up against a tidal wave of flood mitigation vs. expanded residential and commercial development. The migration to metropolitan areas continues its rapid pace. Yes, plenty of young ‘uns are choosing Nashville or Columbus, but the bigger draws continue to be our coastal cities. And for now, tax revenue dollars-in far outweighs flood water washouts.

Consider that the Pentagon is incorporating “climate change into virtually everything they do.” Meanwhile, back on the flood plain, or in the halls of Congress, both city planners and sitting U.S. senators deny the problem needs addressing.

First step might involve recalibrating the 100-year or 500-year flood occurrence probabilities. Because the frequency of a 1,000-year storm is on the rise, bigly. Just ask Baton Rouge, LA.

You see, properties in the 100-year floodplain (measured as 1% risk of flood in that area in any given year) are required to buy flood insurance. That certainly makes sense. But homeowners and businesses in the 500-year floodplain (measured as .2% risk of flood in any given year) are not required to have flood insurance. A change in calibration could scare the shit out a lot of people, and potentially reduce tax dollars into city coffers. Better leave that one alone, for now. So goes the big thinking.

Unfortunately, this revenue-centric model is not sustainable. And the larger, future costs of doing nothing will overwhelm the short-term revenue stream.

What about the periodic convincers that shake millions of people to their foundations? I immediately think of super-storm Sandy, since I witnessed the devastation and rebuild, ongoing to this day. Take a glance at this 1-minute video from Long Branch, NJ. In my opinion, Mama Nature is telling us that a new coastline is coming, and soon. But seaside development continues. Ya gotta like the views, and the revenues.

So we have a way to go before climate and water reality lands on the minds and pocketbooks of the decision-makers. By then, they won’t be able to blame Obama.

‘Nuff said.

Photo Credits:

Top: Liga Eglite, “Guaja_flooding_27.04.13, Citroen fight against River Gauja 0:1” https://www.flickr.com/photos/amada_stream/

Bottom: go_greener_oz, “Rising Sea Levels” 2008. https://www.flickr.com/photos/go_greener_oz/

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