Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sacramento Levees: Potential Flood Threat

capital of calcium is a city surrounded by water, with both the capital of California and the Ameri stub Rivers running through it, as well as a vast array of levees. Many populated beas argon above water only because the levees be safekeeping neverthelesstocks millions of gallons of water. The Sacramento levee organization has been the target of gravid scrutiny in the aft(prenominal)math of the hurricane Katrina, because levee ills caused much of the devastation in New Orleans. This testing brings up questions of whether or non the Sacramento levee system can be repaired, if development in the area should continue, and whether or non homeowners should be required to carry overindulge amends.

The Sacramento levee system hides 2,600 miles and protects people in flood plain areas by holding back water from the Sacramento central valley field (Aston, 36). The levee system was built in the 1900?s, primarily to protect 4 million acres of farmland. It was non built to protect an faultless city of 2 million, 500,000 of which are in flood plains (Aston, 36).

The Sacramento levee system is the import largest levee system in the nation, but it is in very poor repair. The Sacramento levee system is actually in worse repair than the New Orleans levees during Katrina, and has received a grade of ?F? from The American Society of Civil Engineers (Ritter, 4A). callable to the reekingness in the levee, certain regions ache been deemed unsafe by the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. One of these regions is the Natomas area, which could be under 20 feet of water if the levees failed (Ritter, 4A).

There are many possible causes of fill up due to levee failure in Sacramento. An earthquake could cause the weak levees to collapse. ?A big quake, say 6.5 on the Richter scale, would ?liquefy? the levees? (Aston, 36). A very long and wet winter, which would create a stack of snow in the nearby mountains, followed by a fewer warm spring days, and a strong spring storm, could get down more water than the levees could handle, causing flooding. Levee failure could also be caused by settling, seepage or tunneling rodents. ?Levees are piles of dirt. They imbibe a tendency to fail. If people are living poop levees, many feet below the water surface level, it is only a matter of time til round of them flood? (Kollars, 2005).

A levee failure in the Sacramento area could potentially cause great damage. The financial damage could be far greater than that in New Orleans, even though the loss of life would be less (Aston, 36), presumably due to macrocosm less densely populated. The American River alone would flood Arden, Cal Expo, and CSU Sacramento (figure 1), with damages in the millions of dollars. The Sacramento River would flood the Sacramento airport, Del Paso, and El Centro, just to hit a few (figure 2). These areas include many single family developments. The homes are expensive and, although most have insurance, a high character of homeowners do not carry flood insurance. In fact, in Sacramento County as of 2004, only 15.4% of homes had flood insurance come in of the 378,524 single family homes (Bernard). Since Katrina the number of homes with flood insurance has increased, but so has the number of homes in the area. Also, in most cases flood insurance in the Sacramento area would not be abounding to cover losses. The most insurance you can buy is $250,000 for building damage and $100,000 for the contents of your home (Field, 36). Although this is sizeable, it is not nearly the live of a California home, so in that respect would still be a financial loss. scarf out insurance also does not cover the living costs tour your home is being re-built (Field 36).

The logical course of action to prevent levee failure faculty seem to be repairing the levee system. The produce of California approved a $5 billion loan to start repairs on the levees, but it is not enough. Although the repairs and reinforcement are better than nothing, the whole system needs to be re-done if we want to have true trade protection from disaster. According to Jeff Mount, a geology professor at the University of California, Davis, all we are doing is ?putting band-aids? on the levees when we really need to completely re-do the good system (Ritter, 4A). Repairing the levee system is not really a operable option. It is not doing enough, and the risk of levee failure would still be overly high.

Given the state of the Sacramento levees, and the scrutiny of the levee system after hurricane Katrina, it is no surprise that flood insurance rates have increased for existing homeowners in this region and that future gimmick has been halted in somewhat areas (Ritter, 4A). However, halting construction in areas where there is already development, such as Natomas, does not seem to be a very practical idea since there are already homes in the area, and therefore the risk of loss already exists. Construction should be allowed to continue, if the homeowners purchase insurance for protection from a catastrophic flood. Although expensive for the homeowner, flood insurance forces them to have some measure of protection and it would be cheaper in the end if there was flooding. If the homeowner did not have flood insurance in the case of a flood, many would lose their homes as they could not afford to rebuild. This could be seen in New Orleans where some homeowners were paying the mortgage on their old home while trying to rebuild a tonic home. Many couldn?t do this and lost everything.

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There is also an additional cost to the government when there is no flood insurance, as they moldiness help those who can?t help themselves due to wish of insurance. The federal government is requiring people who have federally okay loans to get flood insurance if they live in a flood-prone zone (Field, 65), and this should be extended requiring flood insurance on all loans in a zone like Natomas. In areas where there is no development, unlike Natomas, construction should be halted unless FEMA says there is necessary flood protection. Halting construction in non-developed areas is just because it doesn?t add additional risk of loss in case of flood, and doesn?t cause developers to lose out on existing development. .

Katrina taught us a lesson which Sacramento and the rest of the world should study and learn from. The levee system in Sacramento is the second largest levee system in the nation, protecting people and property, but it is in poor condition. Everybody saw the destruction wrought by the levees collapsing in New Orleans, which was in better repair than the Sacramento levee system. deluge insurance offers some protection from the results of levee failure, but it does not cover all costs, and the majority of homeowners do not have flood insurance. The government should allot more resources to building a new levee system instead of just repairing the old system. Billions of dollars spent right away would save tens of billions of dollars, as well as lives, in a flood?s aftermath.

Works CitiedAston, Adam, Michael Arndt, and Tom Sawyer. IF THE LEVEES FAIL IN CALIFORNIA... Business week .4047 (2007):36-.

Bernard, Thomas. NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM. amends Information Institute. 01 Jan 2006. III Media. 17 Oct 2007 .

Brinkley, Douglas. Reckless Abandonment. The Washington Post. 26 Aug 2007. The Washington Post Company. 17 Oct 2007 .

Field, Anne. WHY YOU COULD SOON BE IN A FLOOD ZONE. Business Week 4066(2008): 65.

Kollars, Deb. tempt Fate. SacBee. 30 Oct 2005. Sacramento Bee. 18 Oct 2007 .

Kollars, Deb . Sacramentos flood peril is highest in U.S. . Sac Bee. 30 Oct 2005. Sacramento Bee. 18 Oct 2007 .

Ritter, John. California races to repair levee system. USA TODAY November 27(2006 ): 4A.

Storm Ready: Flood Depth and Evacuation Plan Maps. Sacrameto County Department of Water Resources. 18 Apr 2008 .

Wolk, Lois. Flood Liability Agenda. California State Assembly. 25. Oct 2005. California State Assembly. 17 Oct 2007 .

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