8.25.2007

Polder

Engineer and blogger Tim Ruppert of Tim' Nameless Blog introduced us to the term polder, the Dutch term for impoundments of flood-vulnerable land that makes up the majority of the land area of the Netherlands.

Tim (who attended as a NOLA resident and blogger) works with the Corps of Engineers and remarked that at the Corps they had several Dutch engineers and that everyone at the CoE had stopped speaking of basins (the common term for an area in terms of drainage and flood protection) and had begun to speak of polders.

Sadly,terminology and advice is all we have from the Dutch. In the Netherlands, the polders are by law provided protection from flood events ranging from 1-in-1250 years (farmland for example) to 1-in-10,000 (developed areas including Amsterdam and Rotterdam).

We remain protected to a ridiculous 1-in-100 year standard not because of any inherent engineering or geographical challenge, but by a failure of political will on the part of our central government.

Its good to know that the Corps are not faceless people in wire-rimmed glasses with slide rules for souls. They are our neighbors and fellow bloggers. While the next presentation by Matt McBride of FixThePumps.blogspot.com will highlight the failures of parts of the Corps as a politicized government institution, Tim reminds us that the real shortcomings in our flood protection are not the inexorable outcome of science and geography: it is the decision of the nations leaders who choose not to protect us.
-- via Blackberry

8 comments:

  1. The Dutch people ARE the Dutch government. We The People in our own country seem no longer able to act, in order to form a more perfect union or hold these truths to be self evident. You know the rest of the speach.

    ReplyDelete
  2. New Orleans is one small city in a very large country and our system of government was designed to gave states a large amount of control. It also give our citizens a large amount of freedom. Freedom to build their homes where they want to. You now have a situation where citizens of the rest of the country are being asked to subsidize the protection of New Orleans.

    In the Netherlands flood protection is a national priority because the entire nation is at risk. It's also a much smaller country and probably has an easier time enforcing a more standardized set of zoning regulations that control where high density developments can be built. We claim to look to the Netherlands for answers but when low lying areas of the city were going to be turned into green space, for eventual use as polders during a 1% per year event, everyone got upset that we were going to tell people where they could and could not build. So we want to look to them if it doesn't inconvenience us.

    I also need to mention that the United States is called upon to be the police force to the world. The United Nations has no problem demanding that we assist in peacekeeping missions. These missions are not cheap. We are also in a war with no easy exit strategy and Netherlands has neither of these issues to deal with.
    I am unaware of their taxation system, but if the rest of Europe is any indication, it's probably more onerous than the US system.

    So the real issue is what is the rest of the United States, and us, willing to give up to protect New Orleans? Maybe a better question is would they be willing to give it up to protect someplace like New York or San Francisco? If so, why those places and not here?

    ReplyDelete
  3. According to my opinion New orieans is one pity city in large country and the system of government gave to the states a big amount of control.They gave to their citizens a large freedom.We are the people in our own country seem no longer act,in order to form more perfect union.
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    jamespeter
    Mississippi Drug Treatment

    ReplyDelete
  4. According to my opinion New orieans is one pity city in large country and the system of government gave to the states a big amount of control.They gave to their citizens a large freedom.We are the people in our own country seem no longer act,in order to form more perfect union.
    =================================
    jamespeter
    Mississippi Drug Treatment

    ReplyDelete

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