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Brainstorming Ways To Protect NYC From Real Storms 203

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-have-a-weather-control-device-for-sale dept.
SternisheFan writes with this excerpt from NBC News: "The killer storm that hit the East Coast last month and left the nation's largest city with a crippled transit system, widespread power outages and severe flooding has resurfaced the debate about how best to protect a city like New York against rising storm surges. In a 2011 report called 'Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan,' NYC's Department of City Planning listed restoring degraded natural waterfront areas, protecting wetlands and building seawalls as some of the strategies to increase the city's resilience to climate change and sea level rise. 'Hurricane Sandy is a wake-up call to all of us in this city and on Long Island,' Malcolm Bowman, professor of physical oceanography at State University of New York at Stony Brook, told NBC News' Richard Engel. 'That means designing and building storm-surge barriers like many cities in Europe already have.' Some of the projects showcased at Rising Currents include: Ways to make the surfaces of the city more absorptive (through porous sidewalks) and more able to deal with water, whether coming from the sea or sky; Parks and freshwater and saltwater wetlands in Lower Manhattan; Artificial islands or reefs (including ones made of recycled glass) to make the shoreline more absorptive and break the waves."
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Brainstorming Ways To Protect NYC From Real Storms

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  • Re:1664 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10, 2012 @05:07PM (#41945121)

    Most power lines in the Netherlands aren't underground at all.

    The country of the netherlands is below sea level. Without constant and directed interference of a huge structure the Netherlands, and large parts of Belgium would flood in a matter of months. The reason this doesn't happen is that close to the entire coastline is dammed, both in Belgium and Holland, in several layers. The most important structure that helps doing this is called the delta works [wikipedia.org]. Those dams open during ebb and close during flood, which causes the inland groundwater level to drop to about 10 cm over the lowest point the seawater reaches. The Delta works are extremely impressive, and they're just the first of 3 lines of defense against the water. This is sort of weird as the second and especially the third lines are dams which have no water on either side of the actual dam.

    There are negative aspects to this. The Dutch "Ministry of water" (it's called Rijkswaterstaat, which translates to Countrywatergovernment) has a huge amount of power. They can stop any and cancel construction project, a source of great frustration in the Netherlands, they can evict large amounts of people and flood their houses without any compensation (which they sometimes do, so if you're wondering "why is this coastal house so very cheap" in Holland or Belgium, it might be that it floods 2-3 times yearly, even inland there are "emergency flood zones" with houses in them*), everybody building almost anywhere in the Netherlands needs their approval, they can arrest people and hold them I believe for a month before charging them with anything (and interfering with the ministry of water is a crime that carries stiff penalties). This is done because the alternative is much worse than in New York [wikipedia.org] it takes months to years for the floods to recede, so if someone screws up, they're in for a long ride.

    * there is even a law that if your house is surrounded by more than 20cms of water, you have to let it flood. Because the alternative is that it starts floating and collapses with everyone in it, or damages someone else's property.

    One of the emergency flood zones in the harbour of Antwerp is kinda fun. There is this huge parking shortage, and they couldn't use that flood zone for anything anyway, so they built a road into it. And many days, a lot of cars get parked in there. Some days, usually at around 15pm, a warning goes out "we're going to flood it" and by 15h30 they will flood this parking, cars out or not (because the alternative is flooding the city). You never fail to see a few cars floating around at 17h during those days. It only happens 3-4 times yearly of course, but it's very weird that they deliberately did that. To add to the problem, that parking is written in as an exception for pretty much every car insurance.

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