Water Resources PeopIe and Issues
flood losses. To the owners we would say, " We'll give you the money.
Now you do with it what you want. If you experience losses you can pay for
it. If you want to invest your money in an insurance fund, you can do that.
If you want to build a levee, you can to that. But the federal government
isn't going to help you. " Of course it never did float, but it was the kind of
idea with which we were playing at the time.
On flood insurance, we had some excellent suggestions. We suggested that
a new flood insurance activity should only get under way in a fashion
[whereby] the rates fully reflect the risk for the new occupants of floodplains.
We thought that a program should be on an experimental, small regional
basis. If the new Federal Insurance Administration had adopted that policy,
they would have avoided most of the problems that have occurred since.
Particularly, they might have discovered by taking a couple of sample basins
the difficulties that then ensued on a national scale and could have corrected
those before they made the long-term commitments.
Q: This report, A Unified National Program for Managing Flood Losses, came
out in 1966, I believe. It's an interesting time for water resources
development because you do have some interest in nonstructural flood control
solutions, and you have some interest in new ways of planning water
Let me take the first point, the nonstructural. Did you see any interest or did
you see interest evinced on the part of the Corps of Engineers or any other
water resources agency in the mid- 1960s in developing nonstructural
A: Certainly there was interest from the standpoint of the Office of the Secretary
of the Army. And among individual members, including some top officials
in the Corps, I encountered considerable interest. John Hadd joined the
Corps' planning office and was an articulate interpreter. At the same time,
the field organization was very slow to adopt this view in practice. It was a
case of approving in principle but not in practice.
Q: Do you have any explanation of that in terms of personalities or do you just
think it was organizational inertia?