Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

California Flood Risks Are 'Disaster Waiting To Happen,' Say Engineers

Date:
January 22, 2008
Source:
University of Maryland
Summary:
While flooding in California's Central Valley is "the next big disaster waiting to happen," critical water-related infrastructure issues confront almost every community across the country, according to engineers.

Past flooding in California. A new report identifies the area between the Sacramento and San Joaquin river floodplains as facing significant risk of floods that could lead to extensive loss of life and billions of dollars in damages.
Credit: Dave Gatley/FEMA

While flooding in California's Central Valley is "the next big disaster waiting to happen," water-related infrastructure issues confront almost every community across the country, according to engineers at the University of Maryland's Clark School of Engineering in separate reports to California officials and in the journal Science.

An independent review panel chaired by Clark School Research Professor of Civil Engineering Gerald E. Galloway said the area between the Sacramento and San Joaquin river floodplains faces significant risk of floods that could lead to extensive loss of life and billions of dollars in damages. The panel's report, "A California Challenge: Flooding in the Central Valley," was commissioned by California's Department of Water Resources.

The panel pointed out that many of the area's levees, constructed over the past 150 years to protect communities and property in the Central Valley, were poorly built or placed on inadequate foundations. Climate change may increase the likelihood of floods and their resulting destruction. The panel recommends that state and local officials take swift action to reduce the risk to people and the environment.

The comprehensive flood-risk abatement strategy the panel recommends focuses on land-use planning and integration with other basin water management activities.

"The challenges that California faces are widespread across the nation," Galloway said. "The recent failure of a levee in a Nevada irrigation canal points out growing infrastructure problems."

Another civil engineering researcher from the Clark School, Dr. Lewis "Ed" Link, also served on the California panel.

"I believe the State of California is taking a very enlightened approach to difficult issues," Link said. "Supporting this study is a good example, as is their examination of risk for the entire Central Valley. They are looking strategically at measures that can create long-term solutions, a model for others to follow."

Galloway is also co-author of an article in the January 18, 2008 issue of Science -- "Aging Infrastructure and Ecosystem Restoration" -- which calls for the targeted decommissioning of deteriorated and obsolete infrastructure in order to support the restoration of degraded ecosystems.

"As we move forward with infrastructure enhancement, we must consider how, in the process of carrying out these activities, we can restore and enhance the natural and beneficial functions of the floodplain, which can at the same time reduce flood losses," Galloway said.

Link and Galloway were prominent figures in the review of the levee system around New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. Link served as director of the federal government's Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force, which evaluated the hurricane protection system around New Orleans. Galloway is a former brigadier general with the Army Corps of Engineers and has been part of the State of Louisiana review team looking at long-term plans for restoration of the Gulf Coast.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Maryland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Maryland. "California Flood Risks Are 'Disaster Waiting To Happen,' Say Engineers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080117140831.htm>.
University of Maryland. (2008, January 22). California Flood Risks Are 'Disaster Waiting To Happen,' Say Engineers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080117140831.htm
University of Maryland. "California Flood Risks Are 'Disaster Waiting To Happen,' Say Engineers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080117140831.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) A study of almost 20 years' worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins