“What happened in New Orleans can happen in Sacramento.” Geologist Jeffrey Mount is a vocal critic of urban flood management which he says relies too heavily on unsound levees. Most of New Orleans was inundated when several levees were breached after Hurricane Katrina.
“There really is no fundamental difference between New Orleans and Sacramento. We both get big storms, ours happens to be a pineapple express that delivers much more water than we can handle with our given infrastructure.”
Since we can’t just pick up and move all the homes and businesses out of the Sacramento floodplain, Mount says bolstering Folsom Dam and local levees is a logical approach. “But there are vast tracks of land around Sacramento where we have not gone so far, where we can actually make good choices.”
Mount says those choices include smart land use planning rather than building levees and dams.