Could Leaving ‘Room for the River’ Help Protect Communities from Floods?News Type: State, Regional, Federal Source: Yale Climate Connections
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A pioneering Dutch strategy offers one way to respond to the increasing threat of heavy precipitation.
Living near the Mississippi River means keeping an eye trained on the water level. That’s something DeAnna Bell in O’Fallon, Illinois, knows all too well. Bell, who was trapped by floodwaters during the record-breaking flood of 1993, has watched again and again as water engulfed her area. In the spring of 2019, record snowmelt and heavy rain conspired to keep her region under threat of flooding well into the fall.
Across the Midwest, river flooding is controlled primarily by dams and levees. But rainstorms in the region are growing more intense as the climate changes, while aging infrastructure is cracking and crumbling. That could require communities along the river banks to try new approaches to flood control – or even to relinquish it.
For Bell and others in the region, frustrations over flood control infrastructure abound.
“People have no clue of how to get things fixed,” she said.