It’s hard to draw attention to flood management during a drought. Nevertheless, this is precisely the time to act to reduce future flood risk.
Damaging floods are common throughout California and over the past 60 years, every county has been declared a state or federal flood disaster area multiple times.
This winter the scenario looks like it will be no different and maybe even worst. Especially taking into consideration the extreme drought the state has been going through and the prospect of an El Nino fast approaching.
Before we start going down the all too familiar list of reasons why flood is likely to happen in the state, let’s take a step back and focus on a matter that’s been in the media lately which relates to this subject: climate change, population growth, and infrastructure investment.
California flood management faces significant challenges. There is a large and growing gap between flood infrastructure needs and rates of investment. Population growth and new development are increasing the threats to public safety and the economic risk from flooding. The changing climate is likely to bring larger and more frequent floods, with few intense storms after long dry months. That is how most of California gets its annual precipitation and when these storms occur, runoff flows rapidly into valleys and coastal areas, potentially creating high flood risk.