Flooding’s cost-benefit analysis
August 12, 2015
We're hoping that last week was the crescendo of this summer's flash flooding.
We know from the initial reports that dozens of homes had water damage from the floods and that there's a lot of landscaping that is now downstream from where it once was.
We also understand that the new Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps will be available soon.
The flash flooding and the FEMA maps have come to a confluence in the minds of many who believe there should be some correlation between where it floods and what's shown on the maps.
But neither FEMA's flood maps nor flood insurance are designed to deal with our alluvial fan flooding. They're designed to deal with the type of flooding where people's homes float off, and then only to put those homes back where they were, so they can float off again.
The homes along the periphery of Carson Valley are built on thousands of feet of sediment washed out of the mountains over millennia.
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That process isn't going to stop because people built houses there unless people build something to make it stop, but that's going to cost lots of money.
It will be up to residents to determine whether it's cheaper to take collective action, or continue to do what they're doing now, where some of them must conduct their own repairs each time it floods.
The likelihood that their answer will be the latter increases each day that passes without another flood.