The purpose of this page is to collect and communicate new insight, strategies, and perspectives on flood risk management from the Netherlands, the United States, and around the world. The author spent nine months as a Fulbright Research Fellow in the Hydraulic Engineering department at the Delft Technical University in the Netherlands, and the Climate Adaptation Group at Deltares, where she researched resilient flood risk management strategies that protect public safety and economies while restoring ecosystems. Previously, she spent quite some time over the last few years researching flood risk management policies and approaches in other international venues as well.
A note on the title:
The URL of this website, “The Water Away” is a song lyric from the famous, When the Levee Breaks*. To me, this lyric represents the traditional approach to flood management.Though well-intended, traditional technical (often called “structural”) flood management strategies like building floodwalls, dams, dikes, and levees that keep the water away have been detrimental to both public safety and to the environment.
The title of the song itself—”When the levee breaks” (note: not, If the levee breaks)—is a reminder that our current flood management strategies are neither infallible nor sustainable. It is my intent over the coming months to gain more insights into the costs and benefits of more approaches that are safer, more sustainable, and let the water back in.
* Though Led Zeppelin made it popular, the melancholy song was actually written and first sung by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe in the wake of the Great 1927 Mississippi Flood recounting the heavy rains and the muddy Mississippi.
The lyrics are still relevant today.