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To evaluate their effectiveness, it is necessary to understand how individuals and groups, organizations and communities, respond to information on flooding in pre- and post-disaster periods. Research findings show several responses to flood events. From these data, a model of choice emerges depicting the human decision making process regarding such low probability events. Use of the model enables critical evaluation of alternative approaches to risk assessment and provides a context for interpreting public issues pertaining to flood mitigation. Individual and Group Responses to Flood Events Field studies over the past 30 years have revealed much about the behavior of individuals and groups confronting flood hazards. Significant conclusions can be summarized within four topics: warning responses, emergency period behavior, long-term impacts, and key variations in model responses. Several empirical studies have provided some basic foundations for a knowledge base to inform policy makers on the physical aspects of flooding, but relatively little research has been funded to ascertain the complex human responses evoked. Reflecting minimal funding priorities, most of the research completed has been constrained severely in design, measurement, and sampling adequacies. Quality of the present knowledge base is deficient: almost no comparative studies exist wherein several events with different characteristics and locations might be juxtaposed with common sets of measurement instruments; and there is a scarcity of longitudinal data whereby the dynamics of change might be monitored. These deficiencies and others have been highlighted previously, and in recent years a few exemplary studies have received funding. Guidance for future policy requires that human responses to flood hazards receive a much higher priority within research allocations. Such studies will improve our knowledge base of human responses to low probability events, including floods.1 Warning Responses Despite the near universal presence of telephones, radios, and television sets whereby public information can be disseminated rapidly, lives continue to be lost because of inadequate flood warning Systems. Behavioral research studies have documented well the incorrectness of the stereotype of mass panic upon issuance of riverine flood or hurricane warnings. Indeed, quite the opposite type of response occurs: general disbelief in the warning. If subsequent messages are received, or if the first one has adequate precision, then some effort may be made to confirm the threat information. Typically, relatives, friends, or neighbors are consulted, and a few persons will turn to official sources. Contradictory information frequently is obtained through the media during this confirmation period. Often, this neutralizes urgings of evacuation received from other sources. Even if individuals gradually define a flood threat with reasonable certainty and conclude that they might be at risk, they still must have a plan of adaptive action. When individuals do evacuate in response to warnings, they usually respond as family units. If family members are physically separated when warnings are issued, they will delay evacuation and seek to establish rendezvous locations so that the family can be united upon relocating. Much remains to be learned about responses to flood warnings, but the current knowledge base does highlight a key policy concern. Given existing technologies and scientific understanding, the time has come to ask, "Why don't local officials issue flood warnings which elicit the desired evacuation behavior?" With this in mind, failures in the existing warning systems, especially the limited capacity of most local units to evaluate and disseminate flood threat information, become highlighted. A key research priority should be to improve understanding of constraints and incentives related to the implementation of response Systems based on what is known about human behavior. Emergency Period Behavior At the time of impact and shortly thereafter, field descriptions reveal an imagery of "organized-disorganization. That is, behavior is highly organized when one looks at a single individual or the small groups within which they operate, such as in families or work groups. These independent actions typically are not well coordinated, and disaster scenes have an appearance of mass disorganization. A major reason for this response pattern is that in emergencies people act. They do not wait for officials to tell them what to do. With resiliency and resourcefulness, they initially ascertain the safety of family members and take protective action. Once that priority is met, victims will seek to help neighbors and friends. Strangers encountered may receive a helping hand, too. These behaviors are augmented by those outside the impact area. Organized groups of emergency officials and volunteer units rapidly mobilize and converge at the disaster site. Often motivated by dual incentives of providing help and satisfying their own curiosity, these rather small groups of volunteers often aggravate the demands on the formal emergency organizational network. Rather than being recognized as an available resource, they may be
defined as a problem source. At times this even can be true of highly skilled volunteer search and rescue units, GB radio groups, and others who could greatly augment the resource base of the response system. Despite such curtailments and the typical duplications which fragmented responses produce, most flood victims, like disaster victims generally, experience an intense emotional impact. There is a consistent pattern of initially underestimating the enormity of the devastation. When the consequences are grasped, mental trauma intensifies gradually as the requirements of restructuring and adapting to temporary lifestyles clarify. Mild emotional upset will be experienced by many, but recent evidence indicates that severe and lasting negative mental health impacts are much less than had been thought previously. Repeated offers of help come from relatives, friends, and numerous agencies. Some persons are helped sooner and to a greater extent than others; for example, the elderly may be neglected. Most victims participate actively in a postdisaster theraputic community in which emergent helping networks restore material losses and provide emotional support. Unfortunately, enthusiasm of the helpers often wanes prior to completion of clean-up and short-term recovery. Persons associated with bureaucratic units responsible for continuing the operation, such as the Red Gross, insurance companies and federal assistance agencies, may become targets for pent-up emotions and fatigue. Delays by local decision makers, especially delays on rebuilding plans, may foster a climate of uncertainty which provokes these emotions and the hostility they produce.1 Long-term Impacts Responses during the warning and emergency phases of flood events have been studied, but relatively little research has been conducted on longer term impacts. Some evidence pertaining to macro-systems, such as communities, suggests that disasters generally have little impact on long-term economic recovery processes. This issue is complex, and data analyzed are highly selective and subject to differing interpretations. Serious and continuing adverse mental health consequences have been documented following a savage flash flood in Buffalo Creek, West Virginia. Critics have raised many issues with this study, and results are not consistent with those from other flash floods such as at Rapid City or those produced by hurricanes like Agnes. Consistent with the Rapid City data are several studies of tornado responses which may be applicable: Topeka, Kansas, 1966; Xenia, Ohio, 1974; and Omaha, Nebraska, 1975. These data indicate that two and three years after a disaster, victims have a sense of well being which is very similar to their pre-event state, but their primary group involvements are altered slightly. Bonds to kin and friends are tightened and relatives, especially, are now perceived as important help sources should future adversity occur. One study indicates that linkages to neighbors are weakened and participation is most voluntary associations decreases slightly, with one exception. Victims report more commitment to and involvement in their churches during the years afterwards. Limited evidence thus indicates growth of closer bonds with those elements of the theraputic community response through which recovery occurred. Available evidence strongly suggests that there may be different impacts on various other groups. Key Variations in Model Responses Although the above response patterns have been studied, other important variations have yet to be investigated adequately. For example, urban responses seem to reflect less primary group involvement than do rural responses in areas where fewer formal organizational resources exist. To be effective, policy pertaining to all phases and locations of disaster response may need to vary. Distinctive disaster sub-cultures have been documented in regions confronting repeated flooding, be they river valleys or hurricane prone coastal areas. These community based expectation patterns structure more adaptive responses during flood emergencies but also appear to neutralize somewhat the sense of future risk. This may encourage resettlement and even further development of the floodplain. Impacts of flooding may be more acute for some population sub-groups. Evidence from Rapid City, for example, indicated that disproportionate numbers of the elderly died. Evacuation difficulties of handicapped individuals involving fire hazards may be duplicated regarding flood responses. Similarly, reflecting greater isolation from primary groups who might buttress official warnings and aid in recovery, the elderly and some ethnic minorities may not experience the positive effects of participation in the theraputic community response to the same degree that the general population does. As the discrepancy in findings on mental health impacts indicates, flood events differ in many qualities which may produce alternative types of impacts. Typically, flash floods precipitate far more horrifying experiences for victims than do those with slower speeds of onset. Floods striking communities with minimal social integration and economic resources for recovery, compared with floods striking highly integrated communities, may be far more devastating to the social forces which bond individuals together and provide for stability in individual identity and performance.6 Comparative research designed to isolate and systematically investigate these and other types of response differences is in its most embryonic form today. National assessments of short-term and long-term impacts of public and private flood relief programs for families victimized should be completed. Such research should be
given priority in the coming decade. Organizational and Community System Responses Field and laboratory studies of the responses of organizational managers to various types of crises, including flood events, provide a research base that needs far greater dissemination, especially among those responsible for flood mitigation in local communities.1'3'8'10 Unfortunately, too often, disciplinary differences in emphases and terminologies make it very difficult to integrate such insights. Encompassing several disciplines, key research findings can include three themes: system response to stress events, coping adjustment, and decision criteria and processes. System Response to Stress Events Numerous case studies describing community and organizations responses to a wide variety of natural and manmade catastrophes document the relatively decentralized structure of American society. Although state and federal agencies provide critical resources, the major actions, especially initially, are produced by local community organizations. Typically--although some exceptions have been identified, especially in areas confronting reoccurring events like hurricanes--these responses are fragmented and not well coordinated. In part this reflects the relatively high degree of autonomy which each local organization enjoys. Floods, especially those with rapid onset, create a set of demands which are beyond the resource capabilities of any single unit. A different type of interorganizational system is required to effectively meet these demands, one which recognizes the heightened interdependence among the responding units.1 Gradually some type of coordinating scheme emerges, although typically in an ad hoc manner and with at least some wasted motion. Afterwards, communication problems" often are blamed as the barrier. This may be accurate. Although each independent organization may have ample equipment to monitor and adjust the actions of its own personnel, frequently inadequate means exist to facilitate a regularized flow of information across the organizations. Hence, their respective actions and decision processes cannot be integrated into a unified response. Structurally, local emergency operations centers could perform this critical function, and some do. Field work continues to document the lack of full realization by local officials that such demands constitute a unique managerial problem requiring an organizational design which differs from day-to-day operations. Consequently, key decisions made within one sector of the community may not be communicated to another at the appropriate time. Certain groups, often hospitals, may not be alerted immediately, thus hindering their mobilization. The specifics vary from case to case. The fundamental principle which emerges is that large scale disasters produce sets of demands that require far greater levels of coordination than most local organizational managers have experienced. Constructing mechanisms for crossagency communications is only the first step. A multiorganizational command center is required wherein community needs can be assessed rapidly, and group decisions can be implemented rapidly. A far more centralized multiorganizational decision structure is required than exists normally.3'10 Adding to the complexity of this managerial design problem is the need for better coordination with various extralocal organizations that request information and offer assistance. Too often, these state and federal actions further compound the volume of information requiring processing. Also, local news media may lack information but must respond to inquiries from regional and national networks seeking to make program decisions within a very limited time. The net result is an enormous informational processing task which quickly overloads each individual response system, even if all their communication equipment remains operational, which is rare. Telephone systems become overloaded quickly and are especially vulnerable. Clusters of managers must confront a morass: lack of needed information for field decisions requiring immediate action, and inadequate procedures for consultation across the respective units. Many decisions are made in an informational vacuum without adequate knowledge of what others are planning or doing. Too often, the emergence of more centralized multiorganizational decision mechanisms become stabilized only after emergency demands have been met. Local communities exhibit remarkable resiliency and resourcefulness in conquering such stress situations. Most officials come out of it with a renewed sense of community pride, and like individual victims, with appreciation for the massive resources made available. Cooperation, even among old enemies, is the quality remembered. The trauma, which might have been experienced temporarily when confusion abounded and the crisis seemed only to be getting worse, dims rather quickly. Only a perceptive few seem to grasp the inherent deficiency in their pluralistic system and how it was transformed temporarily to meet the stress of disaster. Coping Adjustments Within this general context various short-term adaptations are more readily understood. For example, regardless of the organizational function or the degree of centralization of its communication and decision system, more decisions are made at lower levels. Fewer individuals are consulted prior to field units taking actions, and communication
patterns shift to maximize speed and efficiency. Simultaneous with the gradual adaptation toward a more centralized structure at the community level, local organizations reflect increased decentralization tendencies. Temporarily, autonomy at the top decreases, and those at lower levels are required to make more decisions. As these actions occur, additional demands are identified which do not fit within the usual task pattern of the various local organizations or greatly exceed the capacity of those who might be expected to take on the task. For example, following the 1976 Big Thompson Canyon flash flood in Colorado, the local coroner was confronted with an enormous task of body identification which was complicated severely since no one knew the exact number of persons scattered throughout the canyon. Inquiries from throughout the United States were received regarding the safety of relatives and friends, which produced a unique information processing demand for county officials. In such situations, local organizations expand their resource base with personnel and equipment from other agencies. Authorization of their use or organization rarely has been preplanned. Under conditions of stress, field personnel will form emergent groups and many actions are handled informally since existing authority bases may not be applicable or fully known by all responding. After the crisis period, local officials are introduced to community relief and rehabilitation options through state and federal programs. When a Presidential Declaration is made, wide ranging alternatives of individual family and public assistance are available. These resources greatly expand the community capacity for recovery, but local officials then confront many reconstruction issues which also must be decided within a relatively short time. Even short delays typically are met with mounting citizen pressure. "When can we return home?" becomes translated quickly into "When can we begin repairs and rebuilding?" Local officials are operating within a context of intense public sentiment. Too often, more detached analyses of floodplain management fail to recognize the intensity of the public desire for a return to normalcy. This social reality is as much a constraint on local officials, who must make the hard decisions of reconstruction, as are the engineering analyses documenting how the floodplain may have been inundated. Decision Criteria and Processes Local officials, like their counterparts at the federal level, can articulate a broad set of decision criteria to guide flood mitigation policy. Although the language varies with the locale, five major goals would emerge on most lists: reduction in net losses to property, reduction of casualties, avoidance of social disruption, protection of the natural environment, and more equitable distribution of costs and benefits.12 These broad criteria can provide only general guidelines. There is no quantifiable decision system wherein selected data sets can be formulated to specify "the best" decision. When officials seek to apply these five criteria they confront difficult choices as to the relative merits of one against the other. Value judgments enter the process at each step of the way, and there is much uncertainty inherent in the anticipated outcomes. Recent analyses have greatly improved the understanding of the complexity of such analytical problems, but a machine-like decision tool for flood mitigation policy selection does not exist. Within a society which is decentralized structurally and highly pluralistic in its value pattern, the policy decision making process will remain highly complex, an art of political strategy which has to be coupled with the tools of decision making. Alternative consequences of decisions can be displayed much better so that local officials can act in a more informed manner. Recent studies have only begun to explore the dynamics of post disaster community decision making and disaster policy formulation. Decision makers display some rationality, but their behavior rarely is entirely systematic. It is questionable how well they follow these steps: appraise the probability and magnitude of extreme events, canvass alternative actions, seek to evaluate consequences of selected actions, and make conscious choices for a course of action. Although the sequence of these behaviors is not uniform, there is some ordering; but the pattern is variable and complex. Descriptive studies also indicate that organizational managers assess policy proposals regarding possible consequences for the autonomy, security, and prestige of their units. These values are important augmentations in almost any decision process as it occurs behaviorally. Process of community decision making regarding flood mitigation are not now well understood, but one study has identified six broad questions to guide post-disaster reconstruction: should normal, as contrasted to extraordinary, decision making mechanisms be used in deciding how, when, and where to rebuild a heavily damaged city?; should there be changes in land-use?; should building codes be changed?; should special financial assistance for private property losses be provided?; and how should disaster-produced family problems be handled? Contingency planning focused on these questions, and for future planning, the necessary informational inputs should be recommended to all local officials.9 The social reality local officials confront has been documented in a recent survey which indicated that hazard mitigation ranks relatively low in priority. Within a highly competitive mix of community issues, including crime and inflation, flood mitigation ranks rather low. It has the distinctive disadvantage of being subject to mechanisms of
denial because of the catastrophic consequences. Thus, paralleling the processes of flood warning responses, among the public at large, community officials can more easily delay policy reevaluation and action regarding hazard mitigation, especially if they are confronted regularly with vocal special interest groups. Rarely do public demonstrations focus on flood mitigation matters. Indeed, public awareness seems minimal except during and shortly after a flood event. Given the typically hectic daily routine of most managers of local organizations, longrange floodplain planning and emergency preparedness will not be considered unless some source provides a stimulus. A recently completed survey of 1415 jurisdictions across the United States revealed that stronger programs of landuse management exist in communities where the probability of experiencing flood damage is greater than average and this and other floodplain problems are recognized, this approach has been used before, and financial resources had been available to mount a vigorous floodplain management effort. Impacts of these programs vary significantly with changing community characteristics, but floodplain invasion seems to be determined by local community characteristics and is not generally affected by these programs. Although reasonably effective in protecting future development from flood damage, the regular phase of NFIP less adequately protects natural values associated with undeveloped floodplains. As implemented in most places today, floodplain land-use management is not effectively reducing the flood hazard stemming from existing urban development. In summary, stimulus for local action must occur and this must emanate largely from the federal level where flood hazards are regularly visible; and federal policy should seek to maximize opportunities for improved flood mitigation efforts within a short time after actual events, when local awareness of the risk is at its maximum level. Decision Processes Toward Low Probability Events Prior to a disaster there usually is lack of preparation for the consequences of the event, as evidenced by inadequate warning systems in many communities. Following the disaster the general concern is with restoring victims and the community to normal activity as quickly as possible. People respond to the crisis at all levels, from the individual and family through different governmental units. A sequential model of choice characterizes the decision processes of different groups to low probability events such as natural disasters. Empirical evidence on behavior in the pre- and post-disaster periods illustrates the applicability of this choice model relative to the flood problem. These data, coupled with the descriptive findings in the previous sections of this chapter, raise questions to be dealt with in the following sections as to how one should evaluate alternative measures for dealing with flood associated risks. Sequential Model of Choice Empirical data from studies of natural hazards suggest the adoption of a sequential model of choice as shown in Figure 7. Time constraints facing individuals and organizations frequently force them to restrict their attention to situations which they perceive to be serious problems (Stage 1). Even if the flood hazard is perceived to be a serious problem, there may be only a limited set of options which the individual, organization, or community may feel is appropriate for consideration (Stage 2). These options may be a subset of all possible adjustments, either because of limited knowledge as to what is available or because of a conscious choice by the relevant group to limit its considerations to a manageable number. In the final stage of the process a decision is made as to what options, if any, are attractive for coping with the flood problem (Stage 3). Here simplified rules for evaluating alternatives are ordinarily utilized. Several factors influence each stage of the process. In Stage 1, the situation in the post-disaster period is considered to be a problem if it has caused sufficient damage to concern the affected individual or group. The severity of the problem may be evaluated differently by the disaster victim who suffers large losses and by the community in which damage may appear to be relatively minor. At the pre-disaster level, the situation differs because it involves preparation for an event whose chance of occurrence in the near future may be relatively low. Past experience is an important guide to action, and reliance on concrete data may bias an individual's estimate of the probability of future occurrence of the event. If the event has occurred recently, people tend to overestimate its chance of occurrence in the future and feel it is a problem worthy of attention and possible action. If it has not occurred recently, most people tend to view its future likelihood as being sufficiently small that it is not worth worrying about. In the latter case, Figure 7 indicates that no measures would be considered. In Stage 2, most measures are considered by observing or learning from others.17 When disasters occur, people usually rely on friends and neighbors for information. Most organizations consider specific measures by learning from others. This process does not preclude innovation by individuals or groups. A set of leaders may initiate a new measure by considering and implementing it to determine its effectiveness. Others are then in a position to imitate the action if they wish. In Stage 3, individuals and organizations utilize simplified decision rules in determining what action to take
regarding a particular hazard. With the exception of structural measures such as flood control works, the adoption of most actions is not based on detailed benefit/cost analysis. Instead, a measure will be chosen because it satisfies a need or a specific goal. Individuals and organizations usually search for satisfactory, not optimal, solutions to problems. Illustrative Examples The sequential model of choice is illustrated by two examples: protective behavior by individuals in the pre-disaster period, such as insurance purchase, and passage of relief measures by the federal government in the post-disaster period. Empirical data from field studies on flood prone communities throughout the U.S. reveal that most residents in hazard prone areas have limited knowledge of alternative mitigation measures to protect themselves against the consequences of natural disasters. Individuals are reluctant to collect information on possible adjustments related to natural hazards because they have other things on their minds, and these low probability events are not likely to receive attention. Those who consider protective measures, such as insurance or floodproofing, do so because they view the hazard as a serious problem (Stage 1). The field survey data clearly indicate that past experience with flooding was the most significant factor in alerting home-owners to the seriousness of the hazard. A much larger proportion of policyholders than non-policy-holders had discussed insurance purchase with a friend, neighbor, or relative (Stage 2). Similar proportions exist between insured and uninsured homeowners who knew someone who had purchased a policy. These findings are similar to those concerning sources of knowledge regarding flood warnings. Finally, individuals utilize simplified decision rules even if they are given information on the probability and loss associated with a hazard and the cost of protecting themselves against the event (Stage 3)~l5 Coverage is demanded when the probability of a loss is above a given threshold level, in contrast to the individual deciding whether to buy insurance using benefit/cost analysis. Particularly striking about these results was the lack of interest in insurance protection when there was a relatively low probability (e.g., 1 in 100) of a disaster and relatively large loss (e.g., 1000). Rather, insurance was more frequently demanded when the probability of a disaster was relatively high (e.g. 1 in 10) and the loss low (e.g., l0). The above findings on the relevance of a sequential model of choice suggest that priority be given to research that determines how information presented in different forms affects decisions. The findings also raise questions on how well people understand the concept of probability and what methods they utilize in assessing risk. Results from this kind of research can help to suggest programs that are likely to reduce flood losses by inducing individuals to protect themselves voluntarily. Turning now to the second illustrative example, legislation in recent years indicates the increasing role of the federal government in providing disaster relief. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the primary agency making disaster loans "restoring a victim's home or business property as nearly as possible to its pre-disaster condition." Before the 1964 Alaska earthquake, the SBA provided 3 percent interest loans with a maximum repayment of 20 years to cover the exact amount of physical damage. Beginning with the Alaska earthquake and continuing through a series of disasters culminating in Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 the SBA continued to liberalize its disaster loan program in response to a set of perceived needs. The changes in legislation were triggered because Congress felt that without additional relief the disaster would cause special recovery problems for victims (Stage 1). Rather than revamping legislation to aid groups who may have needed special relief, such as low-income or elderly victims, Congress focused on previous legislation (Stage 2). Rather than innovating, they modified existing bills to satisfy specific needs (Stage 3). There was no attempt to evaluate the costs and benefits of alternative disaster relief measures. These two examples illustrate the dilemma facing society in developing future disaster policy. If the current situation continues in which people do not protect themselves voluntarily against the consequences of low probability events then society is likely to bear a large portion of the costs of a disaster. For example, few residents in communities struck by Tropical Storm Agnes had purchased flood insurance; hence, there was considerable pressure placed on the federal government to provide special relief. Congress then responded by forgiving the first $5000 of each loan and providing 1 percent interest rates on the remaining portion. Particularly interesting about this situation is that over two-thirds of the residents of hazard prone areas, whether insured on uninsured, feel that the federal government should pay for little or none of the losses suffered from a future disaster. Also, most residents have little knowledge of the SEA loan program and do not expect any relief if they suffer uninsured losses. Although many victims have taken advantage of liberal government relief following a disaster, some individuals are reluctant to incur large debts even though the interest rate is low. It is well known that elderly residents in Wilkes Barre preferred not to take advantage of the 1 percent interest loans because they wanted to die solvent. Some uninsured victims who took large SBA loans have been financially crippled because they were burdened with
several post-disaster debts. To develop meaningful approaches to coping with the flood problem, there must be awareness of the decision processes of individuals and groups both in the pre- and post-disaster period. Also, there is need to recognize the interaction between these two phases in formulating a meaningful disaster mitigation program. Note: For references cited, see table following Chapter VII. VII ASSESSMENT STRATEGIES FOR PUBLIC POLICIES Introduction To cope effectively with flood problems, there must be awareness of the behavioral responses of individuals, groups, and organizations in the pre- and post-disaster periods. There are alternative methods for developing and evaluating flood mitigation and recovery strategies. The flood hazard is representative of a class of low probability events in which alternative approaches must recognize the limitations of individuals and groups to collect and process information. Methodologies discussed include a set of economic, legal, public health, and statistical issues which are at the cutting edge of flood mitigation policy analysis. Uncertainty and Risk Assessment Flood mitigation programs can rely on a combination of four approaches. They can utilize a market system in which information is provided to residents who have the free choice of making decisions. For example, floodproofing techniques can be offered to residents by the private sector. A program can utilize incentive systems which promote or discourage certain policies or developments; for example, a government subsidized flood insurance program. Alternatively, the government can impose regulatory measures to control development, such as land-use measures. Finally, the government can provide projects or services for alleviating potential damage. Flood control projects are classic examples of this type of project; warning systems are also illustrative of information which the public sector provides to flood prone areas. Any floodplain management measure or combination of measures will impact on a number of different stakeholders. Not only are the residents and businesses of the floodplain directly or indirectly affected, but so are the general taxpayers who have to pay part of the disaster bill. Businesses and industrial concerns such as the insurance industry, financial institutions, and the construction and real estate industry also are impacted by hazard mitigation and recovery programs. Similarly, state, local, and federal agencies concerned with hazards have a stake in any policy. Strategy-Stakeholder Interaction Figure 8 illustrates the interaction among adjustments and stakeholders who are affected by particular measures. The first four rows represent alternatives for dealing with the flood problems. The remaining items are the more realistic options, a combination of several approaches to floodplain management. For example, a strategy could be a set of specific measures such as those comprising the National Flood Insurance Program coupled with flood control works. Each column lists the set of stakeholders who are affected by a particular strategy. The cells in the matrix can be used to indicate costs and benefits of any strategy. For example, a strategy of subsidized flood insurance would involve costs: to floodplain residents and businesses in premium payments and benefits to victims in the form of claims; costs to the general taxpayer in subsidies; and costs to private industry, such as insurance agents, and government agencies, such as FEMA, in administrative costs. This strategy could affect development of the floodplain which also would have to be considered. Costs and benefits will depend on the type of flooding and the nature of the flood prone areas. Each strategy will yield a different set of costs and benefits which must be specified. The challenge in developing a meaningful floodplain management program is to evaluate data entered in the various cells in the matrix shown in Figure 8 and utilize criteria for selecting among them. This action is termed the policy evaluation phase which tries to determine the impact of alternative policies on different constituencies: the flood victim, the general taxpayer, and businesses and government agencies involved in hazard mitigation and recovery. The relative merits of alternative policies are reflected in two types of considerations. Resource Allocation Costs - These costs are likely to be incurred if homeowners and businesses located in a flood prone region have misperceptions of potential consequences from future disasters and ways they can protect themselves. Recent empirical evidence on natural hazards suggests that individuals have these misperceptions. Many newcomers are unaware of the potential damage they face because they are given little information from knowledgeable sources such as real estate brokers or homebuilders. Once settled, they tend to assume that a flood will not occur during their lifetime. In evaluating the impact of alternative programs -- such as required insurance, land-use regulations, and building codes -- on resource allocation, policy makers need to understand how individuals collect and process information. Distributional Inputs - This feature represents the relative financial burdens to the flood victims and the rest of society. Governmental policy implies some value judgment as to what subsidies will be paid by the general taxpayer
and what by the residents of hazard prone areas. For example, if liberal relief is provided to flood victims and few of these individuals are insured, then this implies that recovery is viewed as a public responsibility. Similarly, if flood control projects are financed primarily by the federal government, then hazard mitigation is also considered largely a public concern. Within the community itself there are distributional questions concerning differences in treatment received by high-income victims and lowincome individuals. For example, if the SBA loan program offered special assistance to uninsured victims whose annual income was below a given level, then this would have different distributional consequences than if everyone were subject to the same relief measures. The normal starting point for the policy evaluation phase is to determine how well the market system performs in allocating resources among different groups Under such a free-choice system, residents of the floodplain would be in charge of their own destiny. If they chose to protect themselves they could do so; if not, they would have to bear the consequences of disaster. What relief they received would be provided solely by nongovernment funded resources such as the Red Cross, church groups, friends and relations. The government becomes involved for several reasons: (1) Certain services such as those provided by flood control projects benefit many individuals, but there is no incentive for any single person to pay for them. This kind of public good will be provided by government or not provided at all. (2) Individuals misprocess information on the consequences of the event. Government then comes to the rescue after a disaster. As an alternative, the government may desire to induce hazard prone residents to protect themselves by providing them with incentive systems or by regulating the event. (3) The market system does not distribute resources among individuals equitably. In this case, government may want to redistribute wealth or income to certain groups such as low-income or elderly residents. Analyzing Governmental Involvement To analyze governments involvement in flood program management, the following topics will be considered: benefit/cost analysis; multiobjective planning; risk/benefit assessment; and decision support systems, a recently developed method to assess potential flood management strategies wherein the boundaries between policy makers and research scientists are defined more explicitly. Traditional Benefit/Cost Analysis Benefit/cost analysis systematically incorporates benefits and costs of various public projects. In authorizing comprehensive flood control studies throughout the United States, the 1936 Flood Control Act (PL 74-738) stipulated that benefits created, to whomsoever they accrue, must exceed the project costs. Through the years, this was interpreted as requiring that the ratio of all expected tangible (monetary) benefits on an average annual basis, such as prevention of damage to structures, must exceed the annual amortized first cost of the project plus annual maintenance and operation costs. Intangible benefits and costs such as social and environmental impacts were recognized and sometimes discussed in project reports but not evaluated in monetary terms and, therefore, not included in the benefit/cost ratio that must be 1.0 or greater for project justification. A relevant consideration in analyzing any project is the choice of an appropriate discount rate for comparing future streams of benefits and costs. In amortizing first costs or capitalizing benefits and maintenance and operation costs, an interest or discount rate equal to the interest rate paid on long-term government obligations was initially adopted by the Federal government. In 1968 a rate annually revised and based upon the current yield on long-term government obligations was adopted and continued in use today. This discount rate policy gives no consideration to rates of return on alternative investment opportunities or to the effects of inflation, two considerations which would have opposing effects on the benefit/cost ratios. Rather than trying to pinpoint a specific discount rate, it could be useful to determine over what range or discount values there is no difference in preferences among projects. If a particular project is favored over a wide range of values between the market and riskless rate, then there is little reason to be concerned with the choice of a specific value. The benefits from the proposed projects were also determined as if individuals on the floodplain were "willing to pay'1 the expected value associated with damage reduction from a flood control project. If they are willing to pay even more than this amount because they are adverse to risk then the projects will seem more attractive. Or, if individuals have little concern with future floods or have limited knowledge of the probability distribution or losses associated with these events, then the benefit will be overstated. Multiobjective Planning A principal criticism of benefit/cost analysis in water resources planning generally is that it focuses almost entirely on economic efficiency criteria without concern for other objectives such as income redistribution, and social, environmental, and ecological impacts; but it is possible to use multiple objectives in the planning process. Multiobjective planning has been federal policy since 1962, when the following objectives were adopted:
development; preservation (e.g., wild rivers); and well-being of people (e.g., saving of life from floods). Eleven years later these criteria were broadened by the U.S. Water Resources Council so that analyses of beneficial and adverse effects of projects were to be assessed under four general accounts: national economic development, environmental quality, regional economic development, and social well-being. The plan selected for authorization and funding was to meet four tests: technical performance efficiency (i.e., least-cost means), capability of full realization, and public acceptability. The Carter Administration has retained the basic multiobjective features of the Principles and Standards of 1973 and has added other important features: · Emphasis on water conservation measures · Requirement of the preparation of a nonstructural plan to meet objectives (e.g., floodplain zoning, etc.) · Consideration of risk and uncertainty in analyses · Manuals of procedures for national economic evaluation and evaluation of environmental quality · Reconciliation of the WRC Principles, Standards and Procedures with the requirements for environmental impact statements under the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969 and the Handbook on Urban and Community Impact Analysis under coordinated preparation by the Urban Policy Staff, Office of Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For 20 years much effort has been made to develop ways that a policy maker can systematically evaluate a multicriterion objective function.19 After objectives of the policy proposal have been stated, attributes must be defined which can measure how well each alternative meets specific objectives. A major problem is to define a set of attributes for qualitative objectives. For example, how does one measure "preservation and aesthetics" in a quantitative manner? One way to measure this objective is to divide it into subobjectives (e.g., create recreational opportunities to preserve wildlife) which may then suggest specific attributes (e.g., number of visitor days in a park). If several attributes describe a given objective then appropriate weights must be given to them. How well the process is likely to work in practice is still at issue. It requires very sophisticated technical analysis and decision making It does not directly address the trade-offs among alternative floodplain management measures nor explicitly incorporate the decision process of individuals in the floodplain. Risk/Benefit Analysis For several years, both public and government decision makers, especially persons involved with environmental protection or public health issues, have become familiar with the concept of risk/benefit analysis. Increasingly, identification and prevention of "unreasonable" risks to public health and safety are a central objective of federal regulation. For example, in the House Report accompanying the Toxic Substances Control Act, this concept is of central concern: "In general, a determination that a risk associated with a chemical substance or mixture is unreasonable involves balancing the probability that harm will occur and the magnitude and severity of harm against the effect of proposed regulatory action on the availability to society of the benefits of the substance or mixture.. .. Procedures for determination of such a goal are not straightforward. Major disagreements exist among the experts on how to deal with questions of externalities, incommensurables, inequitable distribution of costs and benefits, discounting future benefits, and valuing intangible things such as environmental quality. It is generally agreed that one of the functions of government is to protect the public against those hazards for which individuals would not easily be able to protect themselves. This theory supplies the rationale for government provision of armed services, fire protection, police, and other services As our society becomes more complex and adopts technologies which increase our interdependence, the state attempts to safeguard the citizenry from more and more threats. In so doing, government has to decide whether the benefits of its action exceed the costs of that action. Such decision making never can be absolutely objective. This is partly because of the difficulty in adequately quantifying costs, risks, and benefits. These are separated in time, affect different groups of the population differently) and often appear to be incommensurable. Usually, costs are measured in dollars, and benefits may include intangible values such as improved environmental quality. Experiences in the risk area have demonstrated that policy decisions on incommensurability require the consideration of social values. These value questions are intimately connected with the organization and conduct of risk/benefit analyses. Risk and benefit are separate and extremely distinct concepts. Much effort has been made to separate the quantifiable from the unquantifiable. Risk and safety should mean two different things. Under the best circumstances, the scientifically and probabilistically understandable, evaluable data can generate an idea of the nature and magnitude of risk. * House Report 94-1341 to accompany HRl4032, The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. Social and value decisions based on this and other information represent the degree of safety which society requires.
Despite the best intentions, value questions and value decisions are intimately intertwined with the organization and conduct of risk/benefit analyses.21 One extreme approach to concerns about value decisions has been to assume that for certain risks the public should not be permitted any choice, or no avoidable risk should be permitted. Such situations are rare. More commonly, decision makers weigh cost, risk, and benefits and come to a judgment: a value judgment. If one person making this decision is a government official, the public is subjected to his or her values even though both the official and the public may have regarded his/her judgment as being scientifically based. To assess risks, benefits, and appropriate governmental policy on flooding issues is a complex process, and quantitative data must be juxtaposed with qualitative data. Despite sophisticated application of statistical arid other scientific principles, identification of the most advantageous policy remains a matter of judgment which involves social values.20'22 Decision Support Systems Researchers recently have sought to address policy makers' needs through the development of decision support systems. Decision support denotes the use of computers to help improve the effectiveness of decision making. With the use of decision support in floodplain management, makers can simulate situations for evaluation. For example, a flexible decision support system enables policy makers to investigate the relative performance of alternative strategies in various situations--such as the 100-year flood or different flood events in an area. Sensitivity analysis can be performed involving socioeconomic and physical characteristics of the flood prone area or the nature of flooding. The computer facilitates data analysis, standardizing data bases so policy makers can communicate with each other and contrast the relative performance of different strategies. The computer does not provide an answer as to which policy or set of strategies is most desirable for adoption. It enables the policy maker to fill in the cells of a matrix such as in Figure 8 50 as to articulate the qualitative and quantitative measures associated with strategies and stake-holders. The decision support system is a way of organizing data which may utilize benefit/cost analysis, multiobjective planning, and optimization models for evaluating the trade-offs among strategies and for arriving at solutions. Decision support systems users such as government agencies and the U.S. Congress, are likely to find that desirable strategies consist of a combination of adjustments for hazard mitigation. Policy makers still will have to make relevant value judgments in determining a final course of action. Future research on flood hazard mitigation must link understanding of the decision processes of individuals, groups, and communities with policy formulation and evaluation. Future public issues related to flood mitigation must include economic, legal, and public health considerations. Public Issues Many issues pertaining to flood mitigation are viewed differently by various groups. Typically, these publics are coalitions of interest groups and public officials at various levels of government. Also, a cadre of professionals become involved in policy making by providing key information. Among all these groups certain issues emerge while analytic techniques guiding earlier decisions come under continued scrutiny. The following examples illustrate the range and complexity of economic, legal, public health, and statistical issues involved in flood mitigation policy analysis today. Economic Issues Flood losses are often exacerbated by policies which cause inefficient use of resources and policies which shift the cost burden onto those relatively less able to bear it. Three economic issues related to such results illustrate the types of public issues inherent in flood mitigation efforts. Impact of Disaster Relief - Federal flood relief has existed for many years and has risen dramatically during the last two decades. One reason for this is lack of interest by residents in hazard prone areas in protecting themselves against the consequences of disaster. Another reason is lack of local leadership. As more individuals have located in these regions, both damage from disasters and pressure on Congress to provide liberal aid after a catastrophe have increased. Furthermore, although current relief policies have led to an increase in the net worth of some victims after recovery, these same policies have allowed a steady worsening of the financial situation of some victims. Most personal assets such as homes, autos, and savings accounts have increased during the aftermath, but most liabilities also have increased. For example, the SBA loan for repairs has, on average, trebled the long-term debt owed before the flood. This has altered adversely key financial ratios such as debt/equity and assets/liabilities. These ratios influence residents' sense of financial security. A deteriorated financial position may affect post-disaster spending patterns significantly and may make residents more vulnerable to future hazards or family crises. Who benefits and who loses from disaster relief measures? If low-income groups are more reluctant to seek or receive low interest loans than middle- and high-income groups, then policy makers should be aware that liberal
relief may not achieve its desired effect. Specific measures designed to help particular groups may be appropriate if there is concern with improving the welfare of these victims relative to others. Economic Impacts of Natural Disasters - Some evidence suggests that there are no discernible long-term economic losses; population or housing impacts to communities struck by natural disasters. The rapid pattern of recovery seems to be independent of the severity of the disaster and the amount of external aid received by the area. It may be tempting to conclude that there is little need to be concerned with recovery problems of communities following a disaster. At the aggregate level this may be true, but certain segments of the population may be adversely affected, such as elderly residents or low-income victims. Severely damaged public facilities such as schools and public works may require immediate attention because of their impact on the functioning of the community. What is the basis on which relief should be provided to a community after a disaster? One alternative would be to adopt a damage threshold which automatically commands or initiates a disaster declaration.27 General social aid, such as employment compensation and health and welfare programs, has been provided in this manner at times of economic distress, including the aftermath of floods. Private insurance reimbursements are automatically triggered as well. A more specific disaster declaration should relate aid to the type of damage, whether public or private, its magnitude, and its impact. If there are distributional considerations, then special attention may be given to certain socioeconomic groups. Implementation of Alternative Mitigation Measures - After choosing a particular alternative, the best means of implementing it must be selected. For example, if relocation is considered desirable, it is then necessary to decide whether regulation, financial incentives, persuasion, or voluntary action will best achieve it. Measures such as building codes and land-use controls represent government regulations and are backed up by legal enforcement powers. These are becoming the most widely applied flood management policy instruments. Their disadvantages may include limitations on the freedom 0 choice and misallocation of resources due to inflexible requirements. Conversely, regulations are more certain to implement protective measures in a crisis and may be the only way to bring about the intended compliance, or demonstration effect, when gains from flood protection are underestimated. A second group of instruments, usually termed fiscal incentives, includes subsidies and taxes. The approach is intended to be self-enforcing since people will weigh the out-of-pocket costs of paying a tax (or the opportunity cost of declining a subsidy) against the marginal benefits of undertaking, or not undertaking, a given course of action. For example, subsidies are attached to National Flood Insurance to make policies more attractive. These incentives may not achieve their desired effects if individuals have imperfect information or misprocess data; if a tendency to ignore low probability events exists, then insurance may not be attractive even at highly subsidized rates. Penalty taxes are much less prevalent as a means of inspiring a desired response to flooding. Tax instruments for flood mitigation merit further inquiry. In externality cases, as where the actions of some parties affect the flood vulnerability of others, an appropriate policy measure could be based on the delineation and assignment of private property rights. Many individuals treat rivers, reservoirs) and debris basins, all of which are normally "publicly owned," as free discharge grounds for debris and excess water without consideration of damage to others. Assignment of property rights to individuals or groups, however, would give them recourse to receive compensation if damage does arise or to sell rights to their property when a higher value use presents itself. The purchase of easements as practiced by public agencies in Wisconsin and the Soil Conservation Service among others follows a similar principle. Although the property rights solution is somewhat limited in that it is most applicable to cases in which there are small numbers of participants and clearly delineable rights, it deserves a trial in flood hazard mitigation. A third policy instrument is the more subtle one of moral persuasion, which amounts to an appeal to altruistic social interest in an effort to modify people's actions. In most cases of mitigation, though, appeals to ordinary self interest or better informing people about their options would be more effective. Key considerations among these policy instruments are the trade-offs among efficiency, equity, enforceability, and freedom. Ramifications of each policy instrument as applied to flood hazard need to be examined more carefully so that wiser choices can be made. Legal Issues Increasingly, Americans are taking matters of dispute and conflict to the courts. Flood mitigation policies and actions may be susceptible to this trend which may have far reaching consequences for flood managers at all levels of government. Dimensions of these issues are not well understood and have not been studied intensively. Legal issues related to earthquake hazard have provided insights which may have important parallels for flood mitigation (Association of Bay Area Governments, ABAG, Earthquake Preparedness 28,29 Program). Meriting top priority for future research are analyses of legal issues related to flood mitigation which parallel those completed for the earthquake hazard.
Land-Use Controls - The 1970s brought a proliferation of state and local land-use control programs designed to avert or mitigate flood damage. Through various types of state enabling legislation and favorable judicial decisions, these programs have become widespread. If this trend is to continue, laws and ordinances placing restrictions on private lands must not evoke widespread negative public views. If legal change is to evolve through human response to flood hazards, proposed laws must attract popular support. As use of land-use controls increases, it is likely that several legal issues will emerge. Some could arise from improper techniques in the application of criteria. An ordinance restricting land-use could be challenged on the ground that land included in the hazard zone was inaccurately mapped. A property owner could have a claim for compensation if the flood hazard to be avoided results from other government action. For instance, a Pennsylvania township installed a small culvert and drainpipe under a road, but the pipe was too small to accommodate storm flows. The township then mapped as floodplain those lands which flooded as a result of the township infrastructure design. More serious challenges could contest the basis for the entire map, such as a claim that the hazard was improperly calculated, or that blind adherence to the 100-year flood was unreasonable where special circumstances require a more flexible criterion. The most common legal challenge is that a land-use restriction is an unconstitutional "taking" of property, as discussed above. Measures that avoid property confiscation extremes are among options more acceptable to the property owner and the public. Several alternatives exist between harsh and possible impermissible regulation and fully compensated acquisition by the public. Partial acquisitions may include these options: purchasing an easement, a covenant, a surrender of development rights, buying the title and leasing back, temporary or seasonal flooding rights. Popular acceptance and judicial approval of land management controls may be increased by coupling them with environmental protection and enhancement of recreational opportunities. Further support can be gained through integration with city-wide and area-wide zoning and land-use planning. Ideally, use restrictions should not include broad blanket prohibitions, but should be designed for local needs and, when possible, leave the landowner some choice of action. This is a critical matter to landowners. Despite a floodplain regulation, the owner must be left with a beneficial use, and what it may consist of can become quite complex. The owner may seek to alter the land in some way, such as to dredge or fill it, to increase its economic worth. Courts have differed on this matter and ambiguity exists as to what may define "reasonable use" in varied circumstances. If owners have the constitutional right to alter the natural condition of certain floodplains or wetlands, should it extend to all such owners and land? What should be the rationale for any given right or limitation? Variance provisions for exceptions may encourage ingenuity among prospective developers, but these greatly increase the complexity of the execution of floodplain management. In certain instances, a requirement of planning permission rather than use prohibition would be desirable, and permits could be granted for individual developments under adequate standards. Thus, in the fringe, a large block-like building might be unacceptable, yet a highrise building on a narrow floodproofed base might be permissible. In low hazard areas where restrictions can be minimal, and in rural and fringe areas where land values typically are lower, tax incentives such as lowered assessments and shelters from tax raises may be traded for uses relinquished. Complexities differ in developed areas where land-use controls demand a rollback of existing development of the floodplain. Generally, removal of existing buildings or curtailment of an ongoing but nonconforming use requires a formal taking through voluntary transfer of title or eminent domain. In fixing the price or determining just compensation, the value of flood prone property may be discounted by the probability of future flood damages. Determination of such values often is not done easily nor without challenge. In contrast, after flood damage has occurred, prohibitions against rebuilding or repairing damaged structures may give opportunities for the public agency to acquire base property at reduced value. Sometimes this can be coupled with a program in which the agency purchases lots on high ground outside but nearby the flood hazard area, and sells or trades these to the victims. Recent experiences suggest that reluctance to leave flood prone areas may be reduced sharply if victims are provided with such options. Many residents still may resist because they may not wish to incur debt obligation. This seems to be true among elderly victims, especially, for whom a mortgage-free home may have both symbolic and economic value. In some cases, resistances to such land takings can be reduced by paying the costs of moving some houses to new locations. These matters ought to be researched soon. A variety of legal issues related to land-use controls will become more complex. Multidisciplinary, legally oriented, research is required so that new approaches can be implemented selectively and evaluated carefully for legal ramifications and public reactions. Liability - Liability means that individuals, or social units represented by them, are legally responsible for actions,
events, or procedures. Persons who believe that they have suffered some kind of injury, be it economic, emotional, or physical, may seek redress through the courts within a context of tort liability. Increasingly, courts are reflecting a changed judicial attitude toward legal defenses based on "Acts of God" arguments. No longer are all damages resulting from natural disasters viewed as unavoidable and, hence, liability free. Technological advances provide important guidelines as to how to build, where to build, and how to forecast flood events. Those who ignore such technologies, or fail to implement them in a reasonable manner, may be held negligent under some circumstances. Increasingly, the media have nurtured a public expectation for government officials to reduce the losses from floods. The extent of this expectation is growing while simultaneously local officials indicate more uncertainty as to how the courts might evaluate their actions. One recent survey of nearly 400 local officials indicated that nearly all viewed tort liability rules as uncertain and unpredictable. Five general causes of this uncertainty were identified in the study (Association of Bay Area Governments): lack of clarity in the law, vagueness of certain tort concepts, unfamiliarity with tort law concepts, judicial lawmaking, and unpredictable judges. Substantively, several potential liabilities for local governments detailed by the ABAG Staff for the earthquake hazard appear to have relevance for flooding, such as systems and typical public responses. It is not clear now under what conditions local governments might be held liable for losses contributed to by their action or inaction. Regarding earthquake prediction and warning the ABAG Staff concluded: "some states provide some immunities if the governor has declared a state of emergency. In the absence of such a declaration, however, there are no specific immunities. Therefore, local governments could find themselves liable. " Their recommendation: "Make decisions about how to respond to an earthquake prediction or warning at the highest policy level, in order to maximize the applicability of the discretionary immunity" (i.e., immunity derived from decisions characterized as pertaining to basic policy, rather than to operational matters, which do not qualify). Other suggestions were included: establishment of a modern risk management system, investigation of pooling arrangements for liability insurance, and re-examination of self-insurance policies. As a result of serious damage resulting from dam jajiures, it nas been suggested that strict liability should be the rule for structural failure of a dam. However, under present law, those damaged by failure of either dams or levees must bear the burden of proving fault such as negligent design, construction, or maintenance. Recent field research has uncovered a different dimension of this issue. In post-disaster responses, a great deal of emergency assistance is provided by private citizens guided by altruistic motivations. They are not representing any agency but just seek to help in the best way possible. Recently some of those helping have revealed moderate fright regarding uncertainty as to their legal liability. Uniformly, no reports have been made of helpers who had misgivings about their behavior in the disaster aftermath. Later they expressed worry and wondered whether they could be sued. while this matter awaits systematic empirical exploration, it appears that much of the public has little understanding of the workings or meanings of "good samaritan" laws. It will be unfortunate if fear of litigation erodes the scope of voluntary helping responses in post-disaster settings, which reflect an important core of American values. The key question awaiting further study applies both to governments and to private citizens: What legal liabilities confront those responding to flood hazards? Public Health Issues Germane to flood hazard mitigation are public health issues. Because of increasing numbers of people at risk in floodplains and in coastal zone areas, these issues probably will be exacerbated in the future. Four of the critical issues are discussed here: pre-disaster planning, medical care, public evacuation, and data collection. Pre-Disaster Planning - Coordination and communication among units involved in emergency operations is usually lacking. Although some communities and states have developed general flood relief programs, a fragmented approach is the rule. Usually, individual agencies, hospitals, and governmental agencies have developed individual programs without recognizing the need to coordinate plans. For example, the Public Health Service (PHS) has no programs directly related to flood hazard mitigation nor are any such programs planned. A fundamental issue involves design of integrated warning systems to insure successful evacuation of threatened populaces, including the elderly, minorities, and handicapped. Medical Care - The proportion of people requiring medical care following a flood vary between 0.2 percent and 2.0 percent having relatively minor ailments such as lacerations, abrasions and exposure; burns and fractures are few. Experience in recent disasters has shown clear examples of over-reaction. Various mobile hospitals, teams of specialized surgeons and unprepared volunteers, and useless medical supplies have been rushed to flooded areas and remained unused while needed supplies arrived late or not at all. This is partly due to improper need assessment but mainly due to the flood induced physical breakdown of communication lines. Until adequate procedures for improved damage survey and needs assessment are implemented, and a fail safe communication network is established, such ineffectiveness will continue. In contrast, experience indicates that a serious technical design error has been made in many hospitals and other
critical facilities, wherein emergency power apparatus has been located in areas subject to flooding. Also, no attention has been given to assuring an emergency water supply to hospitals without which they cannot function. Turning to medical practice specifically, experts now indicate that the age-old practice of mass vaccination to prevent typhoid, para-typhoid, and tetanus following floods is no longer valid and detracts from the overall flood relief efforts by taking personnel away from more constructive pursuits. Although there may be a theoretical risk of enhanced transmission of enteric infections following floods, accrued data do not support the theory. More practical prevention strategies are to aggressively maintain safe water supplies, and if contamination does occur, then the population should be cautioned to boil water before drinking it. PHS hospitals have specific plans to provide assistance to flood victims, and PHS also provides crisis counseling to victims of flood and other disasters under the authority of P.L. 92-288, the Disaster Relief Act of 1974. For optimal resource utilization, there is need to integrate existing plans, identify and develop remedial measures for existing deficiencies. Also needed is an integrated approach in floodplain management relating to public health activities and facilities. For example, water and sewage treatment plants are usually located in or near low-income areas which frequently correspond with flood prone areas. The same is true of animal and insect control facilities. The impact on public health of flood induced paralysis of these services during the emergency relief period is critical. Of major concern to public health is coordinated pre-disaster planning for emergency relief measures including site selection of critical facilities. Public Evacuation - Public evacuation is a lifesaving measure, and new knowledge of human responses and advanced technological devices now provide ingredients for workable flood mitigation Systems. If implemented and maintained, these could produce effective evacuation responses for a large majority of the public. Due to limited incomes and other factors, many elderly, ethnic minority, and handicapped persons reside in flood prone low rent districts. Additional consideration must be directed toward these populations. Such individuals function reasonably well within their normal surroundings but may become somewhat disoriented if urged to leave their residences, especially if relatives or friends cannot assist them. Research is required to ascertain the dimensions of this problem and alternative organizational designs for best dealing with it. A broad ranging set of mental health needs require attention. Crisis intervention programs clearly are required, especially following flash floods which typically produce psychological trauma. The administrative design of such efforts, and careful evaluation of short- and long-term impacts, require research. Another high priority concern is the need to improve dissemination of current knowledge regarding public health needs related to flood hazard mitigation both within the medical community and the facility design community. Data Collection - A major deterrent to the development of realistic flood hazard mitigation procedures in public health has been the lack of a reliable data base. It is now realized that the effects of floods and other natural disasters on the health of populations can be studied by epidemiological methods. Death rates can be computed for different types of floods, and attack rates can be calculated for various types of disorders occurring in survivors. These indices can be used in planning appropriate rescue and relief measures. The effectiveness of various types of assistance also could be assessed if adequate pre-disaster information were available. If flood disaster relief is to be improved through policy decisions based on fact, another issue emerges: development of an epidemiological approach to the evaluation of flood hazard mitigation related to public health. Statistical Issues Flood frequency prediction is a technical matter pertaining to critical areas in flood hazard management. Here the interaction among science, technology, and public policy becomes evident. Undoubtedly, estimation of future flood conditions is extremely important to American society and is intimately tied to potential losses. Forecasts that are too low discourage proper preparation; overestimated forecasts result in unnecessary expense and anxiety and compromise the credibility of subsequent forecasts. While much disagreement exists in the scientific community concerning prediction methodology there is consensus with the desirability for using the 100-year flood as the regulatory standard. Consider, for example, how flood frequencies are determined in the United States. Shortly after the passage of the Water Resources Planning Act in 1965, the responsibility for defining a federal flood frequency methodology was given to the Hydrology Committee of the U.S. Water Resources Council. The Committee members represent all Federal agencies with an interest in the subject. Individual members have no power to commit their respective agencies. The committee is not part of the staff of the Director of the Water Resources Council, nor is it funded by a line item in the Federal budget. The Committee has issued a continuing series of reports. The most recent is Bulletin 17A (June, 1977) entitled, "Guidelines for Determining Flood Flow Frequency." Bulletin 17A is intended to be used by all agency personnel in all situations where gauging station data exist, as a result of a desire for equity and procedural uniformity in government decision making. This means that a "formula" or standard approach is to be used, even in special situations where deviations must be supported by appropriate study and accompanied by a comparison of results
using the recommended procedures. The mathematics of this method need not be examined here. What is important is the growing consensus that the Hydrology Committee has recommended a procedure that may not lead to an accurate or reasonable estimate of the flood hazard for a given site.34 This consensus does not represent a trivial criticism. Scientists never can know the actual distribution of floods; they can only hypothesize from available data. Since all observations and all hypotheses have their limitations, judgments must be made as to which hypothesis or model is the most satisfactory. There appears to be compelling reason to conclude that the currently used American choice is not universally the most satisfactory. Many scientists and engineers have emphasized that there is no natural reason that floods should follow particular mathematical laws, and that there are many indications that they consistently fail to do so. It is dangerous to suggest or to assume that there is, in fact, a single theory as to why rivers flood. Different regimes should not and do not produce similar floods. Hence, it would appear that the generalizability of the Water Resources Council's recommendations on flood flow frequency should be reevaluated. The issue raised, which concerns mostly the involved professionals, is whether or not it is reasonable and desirable to apply the same methods for defining all annual flood events. Concluding Remarks The social and behavioral sciences offer many insights and analytical tools which can help to interpret public issues pertaining to flood mitigation. A rudimentary scientific knowledge base now includes descriptive analyses of human responses to flood events and various systems to encourage appropriate public behavior such as warning and evacuation measures. Most of this information awaits dissemination to local levels of government wherein much of the activity most critical to flood mitigation occurs, especially nonstructural activity. Flood mitigation can be improved through research directed at integrating knowledge of probable human responses and choice of policy options. These efforts must be augmented with more basic research to explore and expand the limits of existing methodologies for risk assessment. Innovative approaches must be developed to deal effectively with complex economic, legal, public health, and statistical issues. As research is conducted, there must be a major focus on dissemination of the information to potential users. Incentives should be built into nearly all funding programs to insure that the research community is interacting with user groups. Such interaction will facilitate dissemination of findings and help researchers to be responsive to topics of users priority and to constraints of implementation confronting them. Understanding of human responses to stress, uncertainty, and risk is imprecise and deficient in methodology compared with engineering and other technical knowledge pertaining to flood mitigation. This reflects a historical pattern of minuscule research funding and the complexity of these social elements. Future policy making can be improved if emphasis on the social sciences is encouraged. In the next chapter, a dynamic interplay among these social dimensions and various engineering approaches to flood mitigation is illustrated in 11 regional case studies documenting how the flood hazard differs throughout the nation. References for BEHAVIORAL RESPONSES TO FLOODS and ASSESSMENT STRATEGIES FOR PUBLIC POLICIES 1 Mileti, Dennis S., Thomas E. Drabek, and J. Eugene Haas. behavior in extreme environments. Boulder: University Institute of Behavioral Science. 1975. Human of Colorado, 2 Mileti, Dennis S., 1975. Natural hazards warning systems in the United States: a research assessment. Boulder: University of Colorado, Institute of Behavioral Science. 3 Barton, Allen H. 1969. Communities in disaster: a sociological analysis of collective stress situations. New York: Doubleday and Company. 4 Friesma, Paul et al. 1979. Aftermath: communities after natural disasters. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications. 5 Wright, James D. et al. 1979. After the clean-up: long range effects of natural disasters. Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications. 6 Tierney, Kathleen J., and Barbara Baisden. 1979. Crises intervention programs for disaster victims: a source-book and manual for smaller communities. Rockville, Maryland: National Institute of Mental Health. 7 Drabek, Thomas E., and William H. Key. 1976. The impact of disaster on primary group linkages. Mass Emergencies, 1:89-105. 8 Quarantelli, E. 1. (ed.). 1978. Disasters: theory and research. Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications. 9 Haas, J. Eugene, Robert W. Kates, and Martyn J. Bowden. 1977. Re: construction following disaster. Cambridge,
Massachusetts: The MIT Press. 10 Dynes, Russell R. 1970. Organized behavior in disaster. Lexington, Massachusetts: D. C. Heath and Company. 11 Drabek, Thomas E. et ai. 1979. The flood breakers: citizens band radio use during the 1978 flood in the Grand Forks region. Boulder: University of Colorado, Institute of Behavioral Science. 135 12 Burton, Ian, Robert W. Kates, and Gilbert F. White. 1978. The environment as hazard. New York: Oxford University Press. 13 Burby, Raymond J., and Steven P. French. June 1980. Evaluating flood plain land use management. Cambridge, MA: paper presented at First World Regional Science Congress. 14 Kunreuther, Howard, et al. 1978. Disaster insurance protection. New York: John Wiley. 15 Slovic, Paul, Howard Kunreuther, and Gilbert White. 1974. Decision processes, rationality, and adjustment to natural hazards. In Gilbert F. White (ed.), natural hazards: local, national and global. New York: Oxford University Press, 187-205. 16 Tversky, A., and D. Kahneman. 1974. Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases. Science, 185:1124-1131. 17 Rogers, E. and F. Shoemaker. 1971. Communication of innovations. New York: Free Press. 18 Slovic, P., B. Fischloff, S. Lichtenstein, B. Korrigan, and B. Combs. 1977. Preference for insurance against probable small loss: implications for theory and practice of insurance Journal of Risk and Insurance 44: 237-258. 19 Keeney, Ralph, and Howard Raiffa. 1976. Decisions with multiple objectives: preferences and value tradeoffs. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 20 Rowe, William D. 1977. An anatomy of risk. New York: Wiley Interscience. 21 Jutro, Peter R. 1979. Risk assessment and management: decision makers proceed with caution. Sludge Municipal and Industrial Residuals Management. 2:No. 6. 22 Hardin, G. 1972. Nobody ever dies of overpopulation. Science. 23 Kunreuther, Howard, et al. 1978. An interactive modeling system for disaster policy analysis. Boulder: University of Colorado, Institute of Behavioral Science. 24 Vinso, Joseph D. 1977. Financial implications of natural disasters: source preliminary indications. Mass Emergencies (2). 25 Cochrane, Harold C. 1975. Natural hazards and their distributive efforts. Boulder: University of Colorado, Institute of Behavioral Science. 26 National Governor's Association. 1978. State comprehensive emergency management. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 27 Rose, Adam. 1980. Local government emergency management. Boulder: university of Colorado, Institute of Behavioral Science, NHRWP (forthcoming). 28 Margerun, Terry. 1979. Will local governments be liable for earthquake losses? Berkeley, California: Association of Bay Area Governments. 29 Committee on Socioeconomic Effects of Earthquake Predictions. 1978. A program of studies on ~he socioeconomic effects of earthquake predictions. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences. 30 Lechat, M. F. 1979. Disasters and public health. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 57(l):ll-17. 31 Coolidge, Thomas T. June 1978. Rapid City flood - medical response. Arch. Surg. 106: 770-772. 32 Curry, Wesley. November 1969. Camille revisited - a critique of community response to a major disaster. Hospitals, J.A.H.A., 43: 26a-36d. 33 Western, K. A. 1976. Epidemiology of communicable diseases in disaster situations (Summary). Ann. Soc. Beig. Med trop. 56: 199-200. 34 Wallis, J. R. 1980. Risk and uncertainty in the evaluation of flood events for the design of hydrologic structures. Occasional paper. Yorktown Heights, New York: IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. 35 Flood Studies Report. 1975. United Kingdom: Natural Environment Research Council. VIII AREAL FLOOD ANALYSIS Introduction No adequate data base exists, covering the whole country, that would enable comprehensive analyses of the principal beneficial and adverse effects of modern institutional means -- federal, state, local, public, and private -for coping with natural flooding. Thus, a comprehensive, rigorous assessment is not now possible. Only a very few overall measurements, more or less reliable, now exist. Areal flood analysis, covering areas of flooding studied intensively, are the best measurement available to gain current understanding of the effects of present institutional tools in dealing with floods. A few of the 20,000 identified potential flood hazard areas are included within the areal analyses which follow. Appalachia, particularly prone to flood problems, is represented by two regional analyses: the Susquehanna and the
Tennessee River Basins. Three areal analyses cover the southeastern and gulf region plus the nation's first and most troublesome area of concern, the Lower Mississippi. Green Brook, New Jersey, highlights the urban storm drainage problem prevalent throughout the nation; and Houston, Texas, highlights urban flood control problems. The analyses of Big Thompson Canyon, Colorado, and Soldier's Grove, Wisconsin, indicate the successes and failures of the newer institutional responses to major flood events. Both analyses of the Red River of the North and the Southern California Coastal Plain present unique and difficult problems. The locations of areal studies in this chapter are on Figure 9. Susquehanna River Basin Setting and Key Features The Susquehanna River Basin drains an area of 27,500 square miles in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The Susquehanna River is about 450 miles long and has its source at Lake Otsego, Cooperstown, New York. It flows in a southerly direction to its mouth at Havre de Grace, Maryland, where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The average flow of the Susquehanna River is about 39,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), but this flow is not constant and has varied from a low of 1500 cfs in September 1932 to a high of about 1,130,000 cfs during the Tropical Storm Agnes flood of record in June 1972. The Susquehanna River Basin includes three major physiographic provinces: the Appalachian Plateau, the Valley and Ridge, and the Piedmont, plus very small portions of the Blue Ridge and Atlantic Coastal Plain Provinces. The basin has a continental type climate, somewhat modified by moisture which periodically enters the area from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Although primary control of atmospheric conditions within the basin is by high and low pressure systems that normally move eastward across the United States, storms often develop along the southeastern coast of the United States picking up considerable moisture as they move northward. Such storms usually bring moderate to heavy precipitation to the Susquehanna River Basin, and when temperatures are low, these storms frequently produce large amounts of snow. Hurricanes and tropical storms also bring varying amounts of precipitation to the basin and have been responsible for major flooding. During the passage of Tropical Storm Agnes in June 1972, which produced the flood of record on many streams in the basin, rainfall amounting to 19 inches was recorded. Average annual rainfall is about 42 inches over the entire basin. In extreme years, over 50 inches of rainfall have been recorded at various places, but drought years have seldom recorded fewer than 25 inches. Average annual snowfall varies considerably within the basin ranging from about 28 inches in the southern portions to 85 inches at Binghamton, New York, with some mountain areas receiving well over 100 inches each winter. Types of Floods The climatic pattern in the Susquehanna Basin is such that floods may occur at any time of year. Located in the path of major west-east Storm tracks, the basin receives generous rainfall and heavy snowfall in the winter season. Historically, most flooding has been caused by general heavy rains associated with frontal-type storm Systems occurring in early spring. This type of precipitation falling on heavy snow cover and frozen ground has produced many of the basin 5 major flood events, including that of March 1936, the flood of record prior to 1972. In the winter and spring, major streams often have a heavy ice cover adding to the flood threat. During summer months torrential rains associated with severe thunderstorm activity often cause localized flooding in some of the smaller sub-basins. In summer and early fall, the basin is also subject to flooding caused by unusually heavy rainfall accompanying tropical storms passing through the area. Existing Urbanization Many of the early settlements were established in the river valleys because of the mountainous terrain and settlers' need for water trans-portion and power to develop the basin's abundant natural resources. Although these settlements have expanded through the years, present urban centers are located essentially on the same sites as the early small settlements. Principal urban population centers are the Binghamton-Corning-Elmira areas in New York State, the ScrantonWilkes-Barre-Williamsport areas in the central basin and the Harrisburg-York-Lancaster triangle in the southern basin. Total population of the Susquehanna Basin was about 3,600,000 people in 1970, living in 1360 separate municipal entities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has determined that 1154 of these municipal entities, 85% percent, should be classified as flood prone. Significantly, too, about 1,000,000 of the basin’s population live within the limits of the 500-year flood, and about 500,000 live behind a levee/flood wall system of flood protection. The existing vulnerability and flood damage potential is seen more clearly when one considers that the delineated floodplain represents only about 4 percent of the total basin area, and that it was determined after the June 1972 flood that over 90 percent of the total dollar
losses occurred in that floodplain. Nature of Problems and Responses Chosen Even with what has been done to date toward controlling floods in the Susquehanna Basin, floods will continue to cause human suffering and create economic hardship. A recurrence of any flood of the magnitude of those which occurred in June 1889, July 1935, March 1936, May 1946, November 1950, March 1964, June 1972, and September 1975, would still be felt acutely in some area of the basin. As land development has increased, it has become increasingly obvious that minor flooding in certain areas, which formerly was considered only a temporary inconvenience, is now causing damages. Few of these areas can be provided with structural flood protection. Taking into account existing and planned flood protection projects the residual average annual flood damages in the Susquehanna Basin exceed $40,000,000. Recent flooding experiences associated with Tropical Storm Agnes have resulted in flood damages estimated at $3,185,000,000. For comparison purposes, damages of the previous maximum flood of March 1936 were $275,000,000. After the flood of March 1936, response to the need for flood damage reduction was in structural flood protection provided by the federal government, mostly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) (Corps), and by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of now, the Corps has constructed a total of 47 projects including 13 flood water retention dam projects and 34 local flood protection projects. Another federal agency, the Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, has constructed 40 small watershed protection projects in the basin. To meet flood protection needs on some of the smaller tributaries, where projects could not be authorized by federal agencies, the Commonwealth has constructed 36 flood protection projects including six multipurpose dam structures. An additional local flood protection project was completed by New York State in the upper basin. Total construction cost of all of these flood protection projects represents an estimated investment exceeding $460,000,000. In spite of this, flooding continues to be a serious problem in the basin. Much of the current potential damage now is concentrated in unprotected areas near large population centers where growth has put more pressure on the floodplain. In some cases, structural protection still may be economically feasible, but in most areas there is obvious need for nonstructural flood damage reduction. One of the first steps toward the nonstructural approach was taken after the March 1936 flood when the FederalState Flood Forecasting Service was formed, the forerunner of the present nationwide flood forecasting service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This was a cooperative program among the (then known as) U.S. Weather Bureau, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to develop a better and more reliable river forecasting and flood warning service. The Weather Bureau provided its technical expertise and general management, and the Commonwealth provided the staff and funds to establish, operate and maintain a statewide stream gauging network, a statewide recording rain gage network, and a flood warning radio network in the Susquehanna Basin. By issuing accurate and timely flood crest information during floods the Federal-State Flood Forecasting Service was able to alert all interests to take appropriate protective action. Reduction of flood damage and loss of lives resulting from this service was made evident during field investigations after floods, and savings far outweighed costs of operation. The National Flood Insurance Program provided another nonstructural approach to flood damage reduction. It not only helped to repay the property owner for part of his loss but also required the municipality involved to provide assurances to restrict use of flood prone areas through appropriate legal regulations. Changing Responses - After each flood, the usual first demand from flooded areas is still for structural flood protection. Even after being provided with information that a flood protection project cannot be built, some municipalities continue to pursue this approach doing little to implement a nonstructural program to improve their situation. The greater number of flood prone communities, however, are looking at their flood problems in a more realistic way. Flood problems are receiving much greater attention and the nature of responses is changing. A significant indication of this is the present participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. As of September 30, 1979, 69,651 flood insurance policies were in force in the basin with insurance coverage of $1,913,000,000. Annual premiums are estimated to exceed $5,000,000. Implementation of statewide floodplain management programs are in process to help local municipalities to better control the use of their floodplains. This is being done through a program first to identify the floodplain then to enact zoning ordinances to control uses of these areas, assuring that nothing further will be done to interfere with the ability of the floodplain to perform its natural function. In another area of nonstructural response, an interagency task force undertook a careful review of the flood warning system in the basin resulting in coordinated efforts by basin agencies to improve reliability and timeliness of flood
forecasts. A back-up satellite data assembly system is installed and operational, enabling the Harrisburg River Forecast Center to obtain river gage readings in spite of failure of conventional communication means. In addition, over 40 self-help flood forecast and warning systems, organized at the local level, are operating to provide complementary flood warning for areas not routinely covered by the National Weather Service river forecasting system. Other nonstructural means are watershed land treatment measures and floodproofing. Appraisal Implementation of structural measures to totally control floods in the basin is cost prohibitive and there is growing awareness of their possible adverse impacts upon upstream and downstream communities and on the environment. Exorbitant cost also would be associated with relocation of communities or structures from the floodplain. Each community has its own distinct beneficial and adverse conditions affecting its choice of solutions to problems of flood damage reduction. The community's location, existing development, economic factors, and degree of flood vulnerability are important items which require thorough examination before the best solution is determined. It appears that in almost all cases the best plan for flood damage reduction would include a mix of various structural and nonstructural measures available. A major flood certainly will occur again. In view of this, strong effort has been made by responsible agencies to continue the educational process directing information on flood damage reduction to all levels of interest. To plan ahead, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, in cooperation with the Susquehanna Economic Development Association - Council of Governments, a regional multicounty organization, is proposing a pilot program to test the effectiveness of a comprehensive mix of structural and non-structural approaches to flood damage reduction. This program will provide interagency coordination and involvement with 10 selected communities whose various flood problems are representative of the region. With direct community involvement, the comprehensive flood damage mitigation approaches identified can then be used throughout the Susquehanna River Basin. Tennessee Basin An outstanding example of flood control as an element of multipurpose water control management exists in the Tennessee basin. There the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoir system was designed to regulate the main river and major tributaries in the region for integrated purposes. This development was unique in that a complete river basin was used as a planning unit, overlapping the boundaries of seven states. The foremost operational objectives were navigation and flood control and, as consistent with these, the production of hydroelectricity. Through the years additional uses of the water were found. Today the reservoir system is also operated to provide municipal and industrial water supplies, regulate flows to minimize the effects of effluents in including thermal discharges, fluctuate water levels for control of mosquitoes and troublesome aquatic vegetation, and control flows and levels for various recreational uses. From 1933 to 1953, 20 dams and reservoirs were constructed in the valley, and several existing ones were acquired becoming part of the system. From 1953 to 1980, three additional dams were completed. This does not include 16 nonpower projects on tributary streams. Two projects are in some stage of construction now. The region overlaps the heart of Appalachia with a drainage area of 40,900 square miles encompassing portions of seven states: Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky. The Tennessee River was at once the scourge of the region and an almost untapped resource of tremendous potential. In terms of flow, the Tennessee is the fifth largest river in the United States. Hydrology of the Region Mean annual precipitation of the Tennessee Valley is about 52 inches but has varied between 38 and 65 inches. Snowfall averages about 8 inches annually but rarely remains on the ground for more than a few days at a time except in higher mountainous areas. Mean annual runoff is about 22 inches, but it has varied from 11 inches in the driest years to 33 inches in the wettest years. Variation in runoff from month to month is in sharp contrast to precipitation. In winter and early spring, leaves are gone from the trees, vegetation is dormant, and lower temperatures reduce evapotranspiration. As a result, more of the rainfall becomes streamflow in this period. Operation of the Reservoir System The high priority assigned to flood control by the TVA Act ensured that the plan of operation for each reservoir would provide storage space for flood control. Initial investigations revealed that within the Tennessee Valley, by far the greatest potential for urban damage from floods was at Chattanooga. Thus, planning of the reservoir system upstream from Chattanooga was directed primarily toward eliminating, or at least reducing, potential flood damages in that city. In designing and developing the plan of operations of the reservoir system, seasonal occurrence of floods was an important factor. The definite seasonal pattern shown by long-term records implies that the full amount of flood storage space need be reserved only during flood season --December through March.
Reservoirs in the system fall into two general groups: tributary multiple-purpose reservoirs and main Tennessee River multiple-purpose reservoirs; the two are greatly different in method of operation, relative flood storage capacity, and effect at critical flood control points. Tributary Multiple-Purpose Reservoirs - Storage reservation for flood control on March 15 is determined as the amount necessary, in conjunction with other reservoirs and levees, for controlling the maximum probable flood at Chattanooga. Drawdown of the reservoir prior to January 1 provides useful water for meeting navigation and power production requirements during drier months, and normally it can be accomplished with greater assurance and efficiency than would be possible during the January 1 through March 15 period. The lesser reservation on March 31 and thereafter makes allowance for decreased chance of floods near the end of the valley-wide flood season. After March 31 the reservoir is allowed to fill more rapidly dependent upon hydrologic conditions and may be filled to normal maximum level if rainfall is abundant. Deficient rainfall, combined with heavy demands for hydroelectric power production during the normal filling period, April 1 to June 1, will prevent filling of the reservoir, which then may remain substantially below top level through the summer. A small amount of flood detention capacity is reserved through the summer months as a protection against flood producing storms over limited areas. When heavy runoff occurs during the flood season, discharge from the dam is reduced or cut off and the reservoir may be temporarily filled above the operating guide curve thus storing floodwaters and reducing downstream flood crests. When flood danger has passed, the reservoir is returned to seasonal level by releasing water at rates that will not create or supplement downstream flooding. Sometimes this drawdown can be accomplished by operating the hydroelectric plant at turbine capacity until the necessary quantity of water has been discharged from the reservoir. Often, however, it is necessary to release additional water through sluiceways or spillways to lower the reservoir level more quickly and regain detention space needed for future rains. Lowering of the reservoirs to prepare the system for the next flood season normally begins in early summer and accelerates during relatively dry fall months. Water is withdrawn gradually, to supplement diminishing natural streamflow, for navigation improvement and power production. By late December the reservoirs normally have been returned to low levels, completing the annual cycle. Main Tennessee River Multiple-Purpose Reservoirs - The annual operation plan for a multiple-purpose main Tennessee River reservoir also provides flood control storage, conservation storage for power, and a permanent pool for navigation. Operating guides for the main Tennessee River reservoirs also require the lowest reservoir levels during January but unlike the tributary reservoirs, available flood storage space is so small that low levels are held until near the end of the flood season before filling to summer levels. During a flood control operation, the main river reservoirs may be temporarily filled to top-of-gates level, if required, thus storing floodwaters and reducing downstream flood crests. Lowering of the main Tennessee River reservoirs also begins during the summer and accelerates during the relatively dry fall months. Flood Requirements - The objective of all flood control operations is the regulation of damaging floods to minimize potential damage. The existing reservoir system provides almost complete protection to areas below the tributary dams and a substantial degree of protection below the main river dams. The principal use of the flood control storage in the Tennessee River reservoirs below Chattanooga is to regulate floods below each dam and on the lower Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The 10 large flood storage reservoirs on the tributaries to the Tennessee have a relatively large capacity with respect to flood volumes equivalent to 6.4 inches over their drainage areas on March 15 -- and, therefore, are operated to store all, or almost all, of the flood inflow. The eight main Tennessee River reservoirs, which have a flood storage reservation, have a much smaller flood storage capacity -- equivalent to about 1.8 inches over their drainage areas, excluding Kentucky Dam -- and, therefore, are operated to accelerate preflood flows downstream, thereby reserving their limited capacity for use in reducing their flood crest. Flood Control Benefits The success of managing floods is measured in prevented flood damages. Since completion of the first project, operation of the system has prevented damages that would amount to over $2,000,000,000. That amount is over seven times the portion of reservoir expenses allocated to flood control. Several major floods inside and outside the valley were contained in the 1970s. Damages averted during the period 1970-1979 (through June) amount to $1,693,000,000 at Chattanooga, $169,000,000 elsewhere in the valley, and $159,000,000 on the lower Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Floodplain Management Services Although its reservoir system has been effective in reducing damaging effects of many floods, complete flood protection is not provided downstream of the reservoirs and many areas of the valley remained unprotected. Since
about 1950 TVA's approach has been to broaden use of flood damage reduction measures beyond sole reliance on its flood control system by encouraging thorough planning for wise use of floodplain lands. This is the first large-scale example of floodplain management in the country. Initially, this program placed emphasis on simply providing information to assist in making local decisions about wise floodplain use. Information in 1953 indicated that more than 150 valley communities had significant flood problems. in many of these communities local leaders were unaware of the potential for serious flooding. Consequently, early goals were to create an awareness of the cause and nature of flood damages and stimulate local action. By 1975 more than 170 flood studies had been requested through state agencies, and 135 reports providing information had been published. The Floodplain Management Services staff of the TVA works with state, regional, and local officials, developers, builders, private citizens, and others by applying hydraulic data and engineering and economic principles to reduce flood losses and flood damage potential through wise floodplain management practices. Staff engineers and specialists implement this program by giving assistance to communities in the development of land-use control regulations designed to prevent unwise use of floodplain lands, assistance in securing eligibility for sale of flood insurance, and by providing related engineering or technical assistance and guidance required for informed planning and for administration of local floodplain regulations. The staff provides flood data and analyses applicable to the sites of proposed developments to local officials, developers, builders, and private citizens and assistance to federal agencies and others in meeting requirements of Executive Order 11988 - Floodplain Management. It also assists communities in making decisions about alternative flood damage reduction efforts and in obtaining assistance from other agencies for implementation. It works closely with local officials, state and federal agencies, and others in integrating flood damage reduction objectives into local comprehensive development or redevelopment projects. More than 100 communities have adopted some form of land-use regulations to guide development away from the floodplain. In the absence of specific land-use regulations, many individuals after being informed of the flood hazards involved have either located facilities outside the floodplain or minimized their exposure to flood losses by elevation or protection of the use. In the Tennessee Valley, as elsewhere in the nation, regulatory power rests with local governments. Therefore, TVA depends upon local initiative and strong local involvement in planning for flood damage reduction. TVA' 5 experience has shown that there is a lack of technical expertise at the local level to understand and deal with flood problems and that technical assistance is needed for floodplain regulations to be applied effectively. With technical assistance several valley communities are carrying out small flood damage prevention projects. Experience has shown that further reduction in local flood problems in most cases is not best achieved by federal projects planned solely for flood control. Instead, flood damage prevention needs to be made an integral part of other community land-use and facility planning. South Florida Virtually all of South Florida and the entire state's Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean coastline are vulnerable to hurricanes. In addition to high winds, the coast is also subject to flooding as a result of storm surges, hurricane tides which sweep across and inundate islands and the coastal plain. Flooding also occurs due to rainfall associated with hurricanes. South Florida is particularly susceptible, as it is situated in the track of hurricanes approaching from the east, south, and west. Miami, located in Dade County on the southeastern coast of the state, is the most hurricane prone metropolitan area in the United States. Especially since World War II, millions of people, many elderly and infirm, have moved to this extremely disaster prone area. Because hurricanes and flooding are so interrelated, this section will examine hurricanes in detail. Hurricane Incidence The earliest hurricane of record in Florida struck what is now the Pensacola area on September 19, 1559. Since then big storms have hit the state with unnerving regularity causing over 2500 fatalities and billions of dollars' worth of damage between 1926 and 1975 alone. During the same period, 32 hurricanes were recorded, the most severe occurring in 1935 in the Florida Keys. The worst hurricane death toll in Florida came in 1928 when winds blew water out of Lake Okeechobee, flooding several communities and drowning over 1800 persons. Nature of Hurricanes, Storm Surge, and Rainfall "Hurricane season runs from June through November, with a peak in September, but there have been hurricanes before and after. Hurricane tracks follow generally curving paths, but they can be extremely difficult to predict. At maturity, a hurricane may be 10 miles high, several hundred miles in diameter, and have winds at or well over the 74-miles-per-hour defined threshold of hurricane force. The most extreme devastation of a hurricane is usually confined to a core area 50 miles or less in diameter, with squalls extending outward up to 500 miles. In most parts of the United States, the landfall of a hurricane will cause the storm to lose energy, the source of which
was the warm ocean where it originated, and begin to die. In Florida, however, a strong hurricane can strike one coast of the peninsula, weaken slightly on its passage across the state, and regain hurricane intensity when it reaches Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic waters again. Hurricane severity is generally rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with worst being 5; criteria for measurement include central pressure (in millibars), wind speed, and storm surge. Storm Surge Heights One of the most dangerous aspects of a hurricane is a general rise in sea level called storm surge. It begins over the deep ocean; low pressure and strong winds around the hurricane's center ("eye") raise the ocean surface a foot or two higher than the surrounding ocean surface, forming a dome of water as much as 50 miles across. As the storm moves into shallow coastal waters, decreasing water depth transforms the dome into a storm surge that can rise 20 feet or more above normal sea level and cause massive flooding and destruction along shorelines in its path. This problem is even more critical when full consideration is given to the additional impact caused by high, battering waves which occur on top of the surge. Florida hurricanes have brought storm surges of 15 feet or more above mean sea level. The 1935 Keys storm was accompanied by an 18-foot storm surge. Tampa Bay had 14 feet in an 1848 hurricane, and the 1926 hurricane raised 13.2 feet of storm surge in Biscayne Bay. Hurricane Donna (1960) brought a storm surge of 13 feet to Islamorado in the Florida Keys. Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have calculated storm surge heights for the entire open coast of Florida, based on what is known of storm surge from hurricanes striking the state. Calculated storm surge heights for storms such as 1969's Camille and the 1935 Florida Keys hurricane have reached as high as 32 feet above mean sea level. Those two storms are considered to have produced the most severe hurricane conditions of record for the United States, and, although such storms may be rare, they are possible in any hurricane season. If a coastline is uniformly flat and only a few feet above mean sea level, the storm surge will spread water rapidly inland. The hurricane forecasters' "rule of thumb" holds that storm surge diminishes one to two feet for every mile it moves inland. Thus, a 20-foot surge in South Florida, wh~re the land is only four to six feet above mean sea level, would be felt 7 to 10 miles or more inland although the major hazard is usually along the shore and offshore islands. Wind Speeds Wind speeds vary greatly between hurricanes and within each storm. Gusts often exceed sustained winds by 25 to 50 percent. A storm with sustained winds of 100 miles per hour might have gusts of over 150 miles per hour. Nonwater wind damage is caused by the wrenching and bending forces imposed by gusting winds and by rapid increases in wind force as wind speed increases. When wind speed doubles, four times more force is exerted on structures. Rainfall Variation Rainfall varies with factors such as hurricane size and forward speed. During the "average" 24-hour period that it takes a hurricane to pass through a community, there may be 5 to 10 inches of rainfall, flooding all low-lying areas. Many Florida hurricane rainfalls have ranged from 12 to more than 20 inches. The heaviest rainfall associated with a U.S. storm fell at Yankeetown, Florida, during Hurricane Easy in 1950:. a 24-hour maximum of 38.7 inches. Response Miami is headquarters of the hurricane research and warning efforts of the U.S. Commerce Department's NOAA. From the National Hurricane Center, a major office of NOAA's National Weather Service, warnings of approaching storms go out to coastal locations from Maine to Texas and to the several dozen nations of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Advisory operations begin when a storm with hurricane potential is first detected, usually in satellite imagery. Advisories become more frequent as the storm intensifies and moves toward coastal areas. Hurricane warning is added to advisories when conditions warrant: winds of at least 74 miles per hour, high water, and storm tides. Advisories also identify probable flood danger in coastal and inland areas, and any expectation of hurricanespawned tornadoes. Most warnings give 12 to 16 hours1 notice to threatened coastal areas, but a hurricane with an unusually erratic track can reduce that advance notice. Areas such as the Florida Keys with limited means of egress require considerable warning time. This hurricane warning system has proved to be very effective in preventing loss. Other measures are helping to reduce hazards: evacuation and emergency services, relief and rehabilitation systems, seawall construction, and building codes designed to encourage floodproofing of structures Also, resident education is given high priority to help keep hurricane deaths and damages low through preparedness. Pearl River at Jackson, Mississippi A discussion of the Pearl River flood of April 1979 at Jackson, Mississippi, is included among the report's regional flood analyses because of its recency, and because it teaches valuable lessons about flood management.
Setting The Pearl River is the principal stream of south central Mississippi. Its watershed extends 240 miles from its headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. The total area drained, about 8700 square miles, includes all or parts of 23 Mississippi counties and three Louisiana parishes. The gradient of the Pearl River is relatively flat, averaging about one foot per mile In most places it is a shallow meandering stream, nonnavigable except for recreational boating. Land-use adjoining the Pearl is largely rural. The chief exception is the Jackson Metropolitan Area with about 320,000 people, located about halfway down the length of the Pearl in central Mississippi. Jackson, the state capital, borders the west bank of the Pearl. About one-fourth of the city's land area is flood prone, either from the Pearl directly or from the 14 tributary creeks which flow eastward through the city toward the Pearl. Opposite Jackson, the floodplain of the Pearl is much broader extending to three miles in width; and political jurisdiction on that side of the river is fragmented among three incorporated municipalities and unincorporated land in Rankin County. The east side of the Pearl is much less developed than is Jackson but has displayed rapid residential and commercial development during the last two decades. Flood Experience Flooding on the Pearl River is the result of intense rainfall over the upper basin. Local flash flooding in Jackson also results from surface runoff to tributary creeks at times of high flow in the Pearl. These conditions occur frequently, and Jackson has a long history of flood problems. Prior to April 1979, the flood of record occurred in March 1902 when a discharge of 85,000 cfs at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge caused the Pearl to crest at 37.5 feet. In December 1961 a much lower discharge of 66,100 cfs produced nearly the same flood stage of 37.2 feet. This seeming anomaly was explained in a contemporary newspaper account: "At the turn of the century, the railroads, highways, and earth improvements now in the area were absent and the water had a wider, less obstructed area over which to travel." In other words, it was clear to those who noticed that the much greater toll of flood damage in 1961 from a lesser magnitude of discharge was the result of human encroachment on the floodplain. This in no way caused Jackson to modify its land-use policies. The 1969 Zoning Map for Jackson indicates the entire floodplain of the Pearl and its tributaries within the city limits to be zoned for residence, commerce, or industry. Public Response Before the April 1979 flood, official response to flooding in the Jackson Metropolitan Area was entirely structural in form. Two major public works constructed during the 1960s affect flood levels in the vicinity of Jackson. First is the Ross Barnett Dam which impounds the Pearl Rivet just north of the city. This project was constructed entirely with state funds by the Pearl River Valley Watet Supply District. Although its enabling act refers to "flood control" as a legislative purpose, the Ross Barnett Dam and Reservoir were designed and operated primarily for recreation and water supply (not presently utilized). In 1961, the nearly completed dam successfully held back enough water to lower the crest at Jackson by a few inches; but in April 1979, the reservoir was nearly at peak capacity when the upstream flood crest arrived. No appreciable storage was therefore available. Furthermore, the rapid increase of discharge through the spillway to l30,000 cfs raised subsequent charges that the dam actually worsened the flood problem downstream. The other major public works effort to tame the Pearl River was a program of levee construction and channel modification below Ross Barnett Dam. This project was planned and constructed by the COE between 1964 and 1968 at a total cost of $8,000,000, of which $1,000,000 was financed locally through bonds. Levees were built to a length of 1.5 miles protecting 420 acres on the Jackson side and 10.3 miles protecting 5870 acres on the Rankin County side. The Pearl was straightened by a 2.3 mile cutoff to flow between the levees. The project was constructed to accommodate a "standard project flood" discharge of 207,000 cfs, estimated to reach a stage of 42.9 feet. The levees were thus five feet higher than the 1961 crest. Public statements at the initiation of work on the levees declared that the project would "...mark the end of the devastating floods which almost annually have inundated thousands of acres, forced hundreds from their homes, and threatened to destroy major industries vital to the economy of both Rankin and Hinds Counties." The April 1979 Flood The above prediction was washed away by the "Easter Flood" of April 1979. Following a week of flash floods from local storms, the Pearl rose to an unprecedented crest of 43.25 feet. This exceeded the stage of the standard project flood despite a discharge far less than 207,000 cfs. About 17,000 persons were displaced from their homes in Jackson. Flood damage was inflicted upon 1900 residential structures, 730 business and industrial firms in 298 structures, and upon a large number of public facilities including a new $70,000,000 sewage treatment plant, the Mississippi Coliseum, State Natural History Museum, and numerous electrical substations Mayor Dale Danks, Jr., of
Jackson estimated total damage to his city at $500,000,000. Total federal allocations for assistance to public and private victims of the Pearl River flood of 1979 were estimated to be $375,000,000. This included grants under the President's Disaster Fund, Small Business Administration disaster loans, and subsidized flood insurance payments by the Federal Insurance Administration. Jackson bore the brunt of losses in the Pearl River flood. In part, this resulted from the failure of the west bank levee to restrain floodwaters from reaching the "fairgrounds" where much new investment had been located since the 1961 flood. Additional widespread damage was inflicted on residential and shopping facilities in northeast Jackson where no levee protection exists. Meanwhile, on the east side of the Pearl, emergency flood fighting by the COE, National Guard, and volunteers succeeded in protecting the levee against overtopping. Ironically, much of the land protected by the east side levee is undeveloped. Implications for Public Policy The Pearl River flood of April 1979 bears many lessons for' public policy both locally and nationally. The following discussion will consider six key issues. 1. Overconfidence in Structural Flood Control - The boundless optimism of public officials during the 1960s concerning the "elimination of the flood threat" for Jackson through levee construction was obviously misplaced. First, the flood control project did not purport to protect areas along the river in northeastern Jackson. Admittedly, much of this land was developed under county jurisdiction before being annexed to the city in the early 1970s; but no public authority -- federal, state, regional, or local -- apparently called for limitation of building in exposed portions of the Pearl floodplain.