Study Shows — Mitigation Matters

Since 2000, floods have cost the United States more than $845 billion in damage.

by Eric Holdeman / November 21, 2019

The definition of crazy is to keep doing what we've done before, suffer disaster losses, and repeat our actions, again and again and again. The key to disaster loss reduction is to stop building in risk-prone areas. As noted in this NY Times article, As Climate Risk Grows, Cities Test a Tough Strategy: Saying ‘No’ to Developers, a few jurisdictions/politicians are starting to "get it." But they are far and few between.

I think many politicians don't want to be confused with facts, or they look for "alternative facts" to support what they want to do to keep economic development humming along in their city or county. Local jurisdictions are where zoning decisions are made, and thus you have thousands of counties and cities to deal with. 

If you are looking for a study/facts to support your drive toward mitigation, see this PEW Mitigation Matters: Policy Solutions to Reduce Local Flood Risk. There you will find new research from The Pew Charitable Trusts, identifying 13 states or cities that have adopted policies resulting in effective flood mitigation. To learn more, read the overview, which includes lessons from these jurisdictions, or go directly to briefs below about each city or state. The policies are organized into three categories: 1) using existing funds for mitigation by redirecting revenue and spending, 2) creating revenue sources, and 3) establishing smarter regulations. 

While the above addresses flood mitigation, the same type of effort is needed for fire mitigation, especially in the West. I fear that as more pressure to build affordable housing ramps up, we'll head for the hills and start building more in the wildland interface zone. 

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