Monday, August 6, 2007

New Orleans: "Call in the Dutch.

Having visited New Orleans and toured the landfall path of Katrina, I'm glad to see Time Magazine putting its recovery back on the magazine cover. Plenty of blame to go around, but in terms of what we should be learning about preparedness for major storms and sea level rise, Harry Shearer put it best:

The Dutch have done it right — a state-of-the art system engineered to a 1-in-10,000-year factor of safety. We've been promised 1-in-100-years, by 2011. As the Army Corps' own reports have proven, dividing responsibility, and dividing the costs, have just resulted in buck-passing, inertia, and a 40-year-long project that failed when faced with a storm that wasn't even The Big One. If we can't do it right, let's call in the Dutch.

4 comments:

doctorj2u said...

Thanks for the support. I thought you might be interested in this post by a new Orleanian.
http://ashleymorris.typepad.com/ashley_morris_the_blog/2006/11/for_our_new_gov.html

Cliff said...

Those are some awesome photos of some impressive technology. We visited the collapsed 17th Street Canal site and its pump station...pretty lame effort for protecting a major city.

Thanks!

Corps of Engineers Employee said...

For the facts that were left out of the Time article, visit: http://www.usace.army.mil/response.htm

As for the comments on The Netherlands, they face a very different threat (no hurricanes) and a very different environment than New Orleans. The difference between 1:100 and 1:10,000-year water levels in the North Sea against non-hurricane type storms is quite different than in New Orleans where the additional height of structures required to protect against a 1:10,000 chance of hurricane water levels and accompanying waves is impractical anywhere along the Gulf Coast. The Corps is working with experts from the Netherlands to benefit from their ideas and experience.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Posted by a Corps Employee

Cliff said...

Great to hear from the Corps of Engineers. Of course the blame does not go to the folks who work for the Corps so much as to the politicians who determine their budgets and priorities. Good to know you're working with the Dutch to figure things out.