There is a hard rain coming, according to a new study, Before the Deluge: Coping with Floods in a Changing Climate. This is the International Rivers Network second annual “Dams, Rivers & People” report:
Floods are the most destructive, most frequent and most costly natural disasters on earth. Flood damages have soared in recent decades, despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent on flood control structures. This is partly because global warming is causing more severe storms, and partly because of growing populations and economic activity on floodplains. It is also because flood control technologies and approaches often prove counterproductive.
Improving our ability to cope with floods under current and future climates requires adopting a more sophisticated set of techniques — the “soft path” of flood risk management, which aims to understand, adapt to and work with the forces of nature. Before the Deluge gives an in-depth look at the flaws with hard, structural flood-control techniques and describes what we need to do to make our communities safer from floods.
If we don’t take strong action to avert catastrophic global warming — and to improve flood risk management — we will be leaving our children and the next 50 generations a drenched and flooded world.