National flood insurance is underwater because of outdated science

Wellington preparing for disaster by drilling into Earth’s surface in search of water

Scientists are trying to identify alternative sources that could be used if an earthquake or other event cut off the City’s supply.

Hydro-geologist, Vanessa Dally told 1 NEWS: “For years we weren’t sure if there was a lot of water there, there’d never really been proper tests in the past.

“We’ve gone ahead and done these tests, found the water sources, done the pump tests, and we know yes there is water.”

In the event of a paralysing earthquake, some parts of Wellington could be 100 days without running water so the council plans to set up 22 water stations…


National flood insurance is underwater because of outdated science

he National Flood Insurance Program, which covers some 5.2 million property holders in the U.S., was slated to get a badly needed overhaul today. The Senate’s task — which includes hammering out reforms that address the changing math of flood risk — has already been pushed back three times since November. Yet lawmakers still have not compromised on how to fix a broken system, so a reauthorization of the NFIP will almost certainly be punted again, to July 31.

The NFIP, which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is struggling because it is trapped in a downward spiral of ballooning claims without the resources to cover them. The program has been unable to sustain itself since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but last fall, after a hurricane season that was unprecedented in both severity and frequency, administrators announced the program had maxed out the $30.4 billion it had been authorized to borrow from the U.S. Treasury. Although Pres. Donald Trump signed a disaster relief bill that forgave $16 billion of its debt, the NFIP continues to be…


Let’s make buildings people can still use after a disaster

Photo by Washington State Department of Transportation [enlarge] Floods closed roads in Chehalis in 2009. Resilient design helps buildings and bridges return to use more quickly after such events.
We are trained and required to design and build buildings and infrastructure to a life safety or public health standard.

That means that anyone in a code-compliant building will survive the next big earthquake, windstorm or flooding event. However, that also means that our buildings or infrastructure may or may not be usable after the event.

When buildings and infrastructure are designed to be expendable that means they have to be repaired before we can use them. We’ll have major disruption for months or longer as we struggle to get back to work, back to school, and back home in safe housing.

It made sense in the past to select a threshold for design because if we tried to resist the truly huge and rare events we’d stand a good chance of overbuilding, overstrengthening, and overspending for an event that may not even happen during the usable life of the building…

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