Another Ripple

From the AP via CNN:

Anti-flood measures will be reviewed in all Dutch regions below sea level in light of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath to ensure they would be adequate in an emergency, the government said Sunday. …

The government is planning to spend $3.7 billion over the next ten years on new projects against the threat from river floods, in addition to the $620 million spent annually on maintaining the current system in the country.

Can’t remember where I read this, but one report said that until the mid-20th century, Dutch dikes were built to withstand a 100-year flood. After a serious event, they decided to raise the standard to a 10,000-year flood. I don’t know if that’s even possible to calculate, but it sure sounds good.

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About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

2 thoughts on “Another Ripple

  1. If some engineer came forward and said it was their considered opinion that the dikes needed checking again, then I’d be more impressed. I suspect the minister is grandstanding, goodness knows the government could use the distraction from the compromised Minister of Agriculture.

    The river dikes are “only” built to withstand 2,000 year floods and that’s what they’ll be working on to improve.

  2. The website of the ministery involved has a Dutch announcement of these ‘risc cards’ they want to introduce. The risc cards are the new addition; the other projects were allready planned) in our ‘give the river more room’ approach.

    The ministerie says in that first (Dutch) piece that the American system is more based on evacuation and sheltering, and is based upon disasters that can happen (statistically) once per 50 years. The Dutch system is much more based upon prevention, we aim for a protectionlevel against a disaster that can happen once every 10.000 years.

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