The US Flood Epidemic: Nature or failing infrastructure?

The flooding in Cedar Rapids, Iowa over 700 feet above sea level, has been accurately compared to the flooding in New Orleans when levees breached during Katrina.

Also mirroring New Orleans is a Wisconsin town 1100 feet above sea level when an embankment of Lake Delton breached last week and emptied the lake into the nearby Wisconsin River. Add this to the January midnight levee breach in Fernley, Nevada, 4200 feet above sea level and a scenario is emerging that suggests levee failure and flooding is not just a New Orleans problem.

Founded after Katrina, Levees.Org has campaigned to educate the nation that what happened in New Orleans is a case of federally directed civil engineering failures, not a simple case of a natural disaster. We contend that the flooding during the August 2005 storm could have been avoided had levees been 2 feet higher and built to withstand a few hours of water overtopping them.

Responsibility for the design and construction of levees in New Orleans like most important levees in America belongs to the US Army Corps of Engineers. Levees.Org claims that what happened in New Orleans could happen anywhere, but this problem is not being addressed.

There are more people in the state of California in danger of catastrophic levee failure than in the states of Texas, Louisiana and Florida combined.

So we have been clamouring for the 8/29 Investigation. Senate Bill 2826 filed by Senator Mary Landrieu D-LA is needed because the organization responsible for the levees, the US Army Corps of Engineers sponsored the original investigation as to why the levees failed, a conflict of interest.

Click here to write your members of Congress and demand the 8/29 Investigation.

Sandy Rosenthal
Founder, Levees.Org

2 responses to “The US Flood Epidemic: Nature or failing infrastructure?”

  1. Patty Whalen says:

    Right now on June 18, 2008, on CNN we see another spin being done by the Corps of Engineers…all these levees all along the river have, he says, served their purposes…Got that? Farmland is flooded; houses look like our beloved New Orleans three years ago, with water to the roof…FEMA and Federal Govt. response took days in the Midwest as we watched people sandbag, just as we have done so many times in the past. Wake Up America! Demand Action from Congress on the 8/29 Investigation…Demand answers from both candidates for the Presidency, other than easy talk…Demand answers from every candidated running for Congress. Ask them all …Do you or do you not support an 8/29 independant investigation or not? Wake up….Act Now…

  2. FROM MILWAUKEE – Richard de Wilde estimates he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars this week when a foot of rain inundated his organic beef and vegetable farm in southwestern Wisconsin.

    “Out of our 100 acres of vegetables, we had easily 30 under water,” de Wilde, one of the state’s largest organic farmers, said in a phone interview Tuesday. “If that was all a loss, it’s $300,000. I’m thinking we’re going to be able to salvage some out of there, but certainly it’s more than $200,000 just counting crops.”

    He’ll also have to replace fences, equipment and other water-damaged property at the 200-acre Harmony Valley Farm.

    The damage from this week’s floods could push some of Wisconsin’s organic farmers out of business and affect the price of organic products nationwide. Only California has more certified organic farms than Wisconsin, and more than a third of the Badger State’s 994 organic farms are in the five counties where rivers and streams overflowed.

    Organic farms in southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa were affected by the rain as well.

    The governor held a news conference at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday to address the severe flooding across southwestern Wisconsin, WISC-TV reported. The state of emergency was declared for Vernon, Crawford, and Richland counties. In addition, those three counties have also declared local states of emergency as well.

    “Our No. 1 priority right now is to make sure that everybody is safe, and then to make sure that the infrastructure is strong,” said Doyle. “Then, as we move forward, helping people make sure that they are able to get back into their homes and back to their regular lives.”

    Doyle also authorized activation of the Wisconsin National Guard if deemed necessary by Maj. Gen. Al Wilkening, the state’s adjutant general.

    Well sounds allot like New Orleans almost three years ago, It is just like what happened and what was said by the government.

    First Priority “Make sure people are Safe” ?

    That was their job was before the levee’s failed!

    “Then, as we move forward, helping people make sure that they are able to get back into their homes and back to their regular lives.” sail Gov Doyle.

    That is what is wrong with government having responsibility for funding, contracting, safety inspections and inspection of maintenance. That is what is wrong with having line item veto power in the executive branch. Budgets can be made dangerous because of this power will be used politically rather than effectively.

    What happened to New Orleans August of 2005 and what is happening now are the product of individuals in government who use their responsibilities and control over contracts and used the power invested in them for politics and profit from disasters we the people face. Guess what? The flood waters that wiped out the organic farms that fed thousands of people here after Hurricane Katrina is headed this way! Two weeks from now The Surge will hit New Orleans Mississippi Levee walls. Politicians in parishes North will be asked to open their spillways before the water tops the levees in more populated areas Like New Orleans. From Wisconsin to Mississippi the people and the government don’t want that water in their backyards! So why should it be any different here in Louisiana?

    All Politics are local

    The people need to understand that they are responsible for electing the men and women who say they are defending our safety. When those trusted with our safety, security, and goals of prosperity choose continue a to war without just cause in stead of paying for levee improvements, barrier island reconstruction or god for bid the establishment of wetlands for flood control.

    They also need to understand that people who will lie to you about your safety and then send your children off to war for those lies, then take money away from the protection of your food, shelter, transportation, means of work, and expression of culture are not the people you want in charge when the next rain begins to fall. And the rain that fell in the north is headed right for New Orleans is just a few weeks.

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