THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

REDUCING FUTURE FLOOD LOSSES

THE ROLE OF HUMAN ACTIONS

SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP MARCH 2, 2004 WASHINGTON, DC

A SUMMARY TO THE DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE

BY

RICHARD SYLVES, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE AND PATRICIA JONES KERSHAW, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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Reducing Future Flood Losses: The Role of Human Actions - Summary of a Workshop, March 2, 2004, Washington, DC THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES REDUCING FUTURE FLOOD LOSSES THE ROLE OF HUMAN ACTIONS SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP MARCH 2, 2004 WASHINGTON, DC A SUMMARY TO THE DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE BY RICHARD SYLVES, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE AND PATRICIA JONES KERSHAW, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Reducing Future Flood Losses: The Role of Human Actions - Summary of a Workshop, March 2, 2004, Washington, DC THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this summary was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the summary were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This summary is available on the internet from the National Academy Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); internet <http://www.nap.edu>. This summary is funded in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Task order 56-DKNA-0-95111); Federal Emergency Management Agency (EMW-2003-SA-0246); National Aeronautic and Space Administration (W-24679); U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior (under Assistance Award No. 03HQAAG000410), Pacific Gas and Electric, and the Institute for Business and Home Safety. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policies, either expressed or implied, of NOAA or any of its subagencies, FEMA, NASA, or USGS. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CMS-0335360. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America.

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Reducing Future Flood Losses: The Role of Human Actions - Summary of a Workshop, March 2, 2004, Washington, DC THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Reducing Future Flood Losses: The Role of Human Actions - Summary of a Workshop, March 2, 2004, Washington, DC FOREWORD The Disasters Roundtable (DR) seeks to facilitate and enhance communication and the exchange of ideas among scientists, practitioners, and policymakers concerned with urgent and important issues related to the understanding and mitigation of natural, technological, and other disasters. Roundtable workshops are held three times a year in Washington, D.C. Each meeting is focused on a specific topic or issue and is free and open to the public. The Disasters Roundtable Steering Committee identifies topics, creates agendas, and recruits expert speakers for Roundtable events. For upcoming meetings, please visit http://dels.nas.edu/dr. The Disasters Roundtable Steering Committee is composed of seven appointed members and sponsoring ex-officio members. The appointed members are William H. Hooke, chair, American Meteorological Society; David Applegate, American Geological Institute; Ross B. Corotis, University of Colorado, Boulder; Ann-Margaret Esnard, Cornell University; Susan K. Tubbesing, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute; Ellis M. Stanley, Sr., Emergency Preparedness Department of the City of Los Angeles; and Richard T. Sylves, University of Delaware. The ex-officio members are Lloyd Cluff, Pacific Gas & Electric; Dennis Wenger, National Science Foundation; Timothy Cohn, U.S. Geological Survey; Stephen Ambrose, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Elizabeth Lemersal, Federal Emergency Management Agency; James Russell, Institute for Business and Home Safety; and Helen Wood, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The DR staff includes William Anderson, director; Patricia Jones Kershaw, senior program associate; and Byron Mason, senior program assistant. This document presents the rapporteur's summary of the workshop discussions and does not necessarily reflect the views of the roundtable members or other participants. For more information on the Roundtable visit our website: http://dels.nas.edu/dr or contact us at the address below. Disasters Roundtable The National Academies 500 5th Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 This summary has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published summary as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this summary: Rebecca Quinn, RCQuinn Consulting, Inc. Eve Gruntfest, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Responsibility for the final content of this summary rests entirely with the authors and the institution.