Water RcsourcesPeople and Issues
A simplified national policy tended to discourage communities from looking
at the flood problem in a community-wide context, considering the whole
range of possible floods that would occur.
So I would say that any community ought to be sensitive to the possibility of
there being a 500-year flood or 1,000-year flood. It should try to consider
what it would do in that circumstance, and wherein it could organize its
development so that if and when that great event does occur it will have the
minimum kind of dislocation.
Q: In recent years, in the Reagan administration, there evidently has been some
discussion about the advantages of not building up to the 100-year flood, that
you build to something less than a super flood.
A: I wouldn't call a 100-year a super flood.
Q: Okay. I shouldn't have used that term anywaybut the catastrophic flood.
A: All right.
Q . Okay? With the idea in mind that, one, of course, it's cheaper . . .
A: Cheaper for whom?
Q: Cheaper for the government, just in terms of construction, not in terms of
flood damage. And, two, that it perhaps would discourage people from
building there and therefore there might be some advantage to that. And,
three, that it might actually prevent catastrophe because if you buildup to the
limit that you need to protect against a 100-year flood and then that, say the
floodwall breaks, you have a worse tragedy than if you hadn't built up to that
line, and you built something perhaps more substantial, lower to the ground
or whatever, which gets us into engineering questions about what happens
when water goes over a wall, and so forth. Do you have any reactions to this
line of thinking?
A: I think there's some foundation for it. Certainly there is foundation for the
view that when a sense of security is cultivated for protection up to a given