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Seven Situations And Issues That Must Be Addressed To Reverse Poor Flood Management In California

So what’s at risk for flooding in California? And what problems does the state face in fixing the problem of flood management? Most of it goes far beyond what a water damage restoration company like ours can fix.

Here are some situations and issues that California flood management advocates must take into account if they are to successfully create and move forward with a sensible flood management action:

  1. Impact on agriculture. There is more than $7 billion of crop potential in 500-year floodplains. Overall, as much as 40 percent of the state’s vital agricultural land is in a floodplain. In fact, the Sacramento and San Joaquin River and the Tulare Lake areas have more than $1 billion in 500-year floodplains, and losing those crops for a season or more could devastate the regional or statewide economy – and disrupt the nation’s food supply.
  1. Impact on the environment. Being good stewards of the environment means establishing plans that protect it while allowing humans the greatest possible freedom and protection. That requires consistent regulation and protections for rare and endangered plants – and much more.
  1. Complex agency involvement. There are overlapping responsibilities among public agencies, conflicting regulations and other problems with getting a handle on flood management. When agencies learn to work together, duplicate efforts can be eliminated, holes in efforts can be reduced or eliminated and grander plans can come together because of greater funding and involvement.
  1. Infrastructure isn’t meeting needs. While the flood management infrastructure already in place – including levees – has prevented billions in damage and saved countless lives, this infrastructure needs maintenance, improvements and more. And infrastructure is not meeting rising demand as people move into areas previously known to flood, in 500-year floodplains or unprotected by seawalls and other barriers.
  1. Funding continues to be limited and unreliable. Even though devastating floods have proven the importance of flood management, funding is still limited and even more unreliable than in the past. In many cases, only a flood event spurs spending, and this decreases after the initial reaction. Budgets are often inadequate since the full cost of flood management sometimes isn’t considered. Plus, bond money for flood management is nearly depleted.
  1. Flood strategies must be part of an integrated water management effort. Collaborations across many fields and disciplines are required, and the need for drinking water stability and other water needs must be addressed at the same time flooding concerns are being dealt with.
  1. Recommendations must be taken seriously. For flood management efforts to work, recommendations from expert panels and committees must be taken seriously. When tools, plans and actions are suggested, they must be funded and acted upon to generate the results that everyone wants. Otherwise, flood management efforts won’t come to much.

There’s no argument that flooding causes billions in property losses and deaths in California. But agencies must learn to work together, consider the serious and far-reaching consequences of flooding and take smart actions that will bring about the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

While it will never be possible to prevent all flooding in a coastal state subject to periods of heavy rain, it is possible to better predict flooding events, prevent property loss, prevent loss of life and reduce the negative environmental and economic consequences that can come with flooding and its aftermath.

It’s a tall order to reduce the negative impacts of flooding on California, but it can be done when agencies, organizations and others take a smart, integrated and long-term approach. And it’s absolutely essential to a stable future for our state.

For help in the San Diego area with flood and water damage, call (619) 376-6838

By |November 5th, 2016|Flood, Water Damage|0 Comments

Four Important Points About Managing California Flood Risks And Protecting Our Future

Flooding is something that can impact any Californian. In fact, all of California’s 58 counties have had at least one flood emergency in the last two decades, and an astounding 20 percent of all California residents live in a floodplain.

Because there are more than $580 billion in assets and property subject to flood risks – not to mention millions of people – everyone in the state must take rushing and rising water seriously. When a flood strikes, loss of life can be devastating, and flood damage restoration to put things back as they should be can cost millions and take weeks or months.

The state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been working for decades to cut flood risk and reduce consequences when a catastrophic water event happens. Plus, local agencies in San Diego and across local counties and the state have done their part in many cases to control flooding in the best ways they know how.

Still, more must be done.

The Department of Water Resources at the state level as well as the Army Corps of Engineers have developed a plan related to the future of flooding in the state that’s based on four important principles:

  1. Flooding can’t be completely eliminated. While flood management efforts can go a long way toward cutting the risks and consequences associated with flooding, the risk will never go away. Still, flood management can improve the safety of the public, create a sense of environmental responsibility and stewardship and help support increased economic stability.
  1. Multiple-benefit programs are best. When flood management solutions are created with the entire system in mind, there is the best chance of success and public resources are used most responsibly. Going it alone isn’t likely to be successful for something as big as flooding concerns.
  1. Cooperation enhances flood management. Flood management is, of course, the responsibility of all levels of government, and cooperation makes for the best chance of success. Local, state and U.S. government officials must share responsibility for flood management, especially since dealing with flooding often requires working across jurisdictional and geographic boundaries toward overall solutions.
  1. Climate change and other outside factors must be taken into consideration. For flood management solutions to be effective, public agencies at all governmental levels must create solutions that take into account as many variables as possible, including the increasing risk and volatility that could be the result of global climate change.

And something else is certain: now’s the time for California to work to prevent future catastrophic flooding events. That makes sense from a cost perspective, from the perspective of preserving human life whenever possible and from the perspective of environmental responsibility.

At Orange Restoration, we support efforts to prevent natural disasters – because that makes much more sense and costs much less in the long run than cleaning up after them. While there will always be flooding and a need for disaster recovery services like those our company provides, there are flood management solutions that can reduce the day-to-day risk for so many Californians.

We want the very best for California, and that means decreasing flooding risk even though the risk can never be entirely eliminated. And we support any government effort that moves us closer to better prediction, better avoidance and better recovery from flooding so that California’s citizens are protected and our economy stays strong and gets even stronger in the months, years, decades and even centuries to come.

There are many things that can be done. But when they don’t work, we’ll be here to help you pick up the pieces – (619) 376-6838.

By |October 28th, 2016|Flood, Water Damage|0 Comments

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By |October 21st, 2016|Flood, Water Damage|0 Comments

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By |October 14th, 2016|Flood, Water Damage|0 Comments

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By |September 9th, 2016|Flood, News, Water Damage|0 Comments

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By |September 2nd, 2016|Flood, Water Damage|0 Comments

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By |August 26th, 2016|Flood, Water Damage|0 Comments

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By |August 19th, 2016|Flood, Water Damage|0 Comments

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By |August 12th, 2016|Flood, Water Damage|0 Comments

California Could Benefit From A Faster Approach To Real Time Flood Forecasting

Many areas in and around Austin, Texas flooded in October 2013. There were several deaths, damage to hundreds of homes and almost $30 million in damage. While Austin is a forward-looking city and local officials are often praised by the area’s diverse citizens, something went wrong. First responders reacted slowly and picked up heavy criticism. Could problems with flood prediction be the causes?

The same slow response could happen in California, but one academic is working to make sure it doesn’t.

Flood prediction systems in the United States are mostly based on watching large rivers and responding to rainfall patterns, and these systems often don’t provide much data on smaller streams and other bodies of water that can cause devastation in communities.

Using a grant from the National Science Foundation, hydrologist and civil engineer David Maidment from the University of Texas developed NFIE – the National Flood Interoperability Experiment. This collaboration between the National Weather Service, the government, commercial partners and the academic community is aimed at predicting flooding with advanced technology and developing a suite of ways to deal with it.

In late March, a first-ever water summit was held at the White House and stressed the importance of collaboration and the use of the creative strategies in solving water challenges of many kinds that face the nation.

Using computing power from the Texas Advanced Computing Center or TACC, Maidment’s system was put in place to bring together data on rainfall pattern as well as rivers, streams and creeks around the country in an effort to better forecast flooding on a continuous basis.

Without TACC’s computing power, calculations and predictions would be too slow and probably could not be scaled up to include the whole nation. Researchers were allocated time on Stampede, the most powerful supercomputer available at TACC as well as support from the center’s staff.

Soon, the computational power meant that calculations were improved in performance by more than 10,000 times, leading to the ability to predict flooding more quickly than ever imagined.

Now, Maidment is working with first responders to make sure the information that comes from his project is actually put to good use. People like emergency response managers, fire and police chiefs, rescuers and others need access to real data they can use to make informed decisions – rather than deciding based on hunches and a partial picture of what’s happening around them.

Not long ago, nobody knew that quick and accurate flood forecasting was possible. Now, accurate predictions are possible in minutes, and governmental officials at all levels are starting to listen.

Because California is particularly prone to flooding in some areas, it is especially important that California’s officials take note of real-time flood forecasting capabilities and take action based on the information that is now becoming available to them from this new project.

As a flood restoration and disaster response company, we’re on the first lines of cleaning up the damaged homes and properties and shattered lives left behind by water traveling where it hasn’t been predicted to travel. And as the climate evolves, the problem here in California is only getting worse.

We applaud the efforts of Maidment and others who are working to get people and possessions out of the way of fast-moving and quick-rising water so that loss of life and damage to property can be reduced.

We’ve seen too much flood damage and water damage and look forward to a day when real-time flood forecasting can make a real difference for people who live or have property in flood-prone areas.

If you are impacted by flooding, however, we at Orange Restoration San Diego are here for you – (619) 376-6838.

By |August 5th, 2016|Flood, Water Damage|0 Comments