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The New Orleans Hurricane Protection System: Assessing Pre-Katrina Vulnerability and Improving Mitigation and Preparedness
have improved knowledge of regional vulnerability to hurricanes and storm surge.
This NAE/NRC committee compliments the IPET on the extensive work that went into completing this study. It is crucial that the IPET work be easily accessible and understandable to the public and that the IPET makes a strong effort to present its key findings in as clear and organized a manner as possible. This is all the more important given the multi-year delay in completing this study as compared to the original study time table, and the implications this time lapse has had in removing the experience with Hurricane Katrina from the public’s consciousness.
Limitations and Key Areas for Improvement
The IPET draft final of June 2008 includes eight volumes, a ninth volume of general appendices, and covers roughly 7,500 pages. The report’s eight main volumes naturally are of different sizes and they were produced on different schedules. Some of these volumes were essentially completed in 2006 or 2007 and changed little or not at all since then. In many ways, the IPET report Volume VIII, entitled “Engineering and Operational Risk and Reliability Analysis,” became the most important and prominent volume of the entire study. The research and development entailed in creating the June 2008 version of Volume VIII probably exceeded the IPET team’s original expectations. This NAE/NRC committee’s previous (fourth) report was a specific review of a draft of Volume VIII only, and much of the IPET effort in 2007-2008 was devoted to additional analyses within Volume VIII.
It thus is appropriate that this section begin with comments regarding the IPET Volume VIII. It also contains a recommendation regarding interagency cooperation, and concludes with recommendations regarding organization and presentation of the entire IPET draft final report.
Among the important findings from Volume VIII is a set of inundation maps for the New Orleans metro region. The results conveyed in these maps are of great importance and interest to citizens, businesses, and government agencies that are making plans for resettlement and redevelopment in this region. Volume VIII presents these important inundation maps, but there is only limited discussion of their implications.
Volume VIII would be strengthened by adding an explicit, detailed discussion of the inundation maps and their implications for the spatial distribution of risk across the city and the region.