Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Worm In The Big Apple

The Bucks County Courier Times reported today that Mikey Fitzpatrick sent a letter to PA Governor Ed Rendell yesterday asking him to request that New York City officials lower water levels in their reservoirs by billions of gallons (to a level of 85 percent) in an effort to reduce flooding from the Delaware River in Bucks County, PA.

Yeah, that will happen. As noted in the story...

“There is no particular percentage you can point to as a safe percentage,” Charles Sturcken, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, said. “To pick out a particular percentage is not a reasonable way to go.”

He also said by setting a limit, officials could put the city's drinking water supply in peril in times of drought. He said there have been nine serious droughts since 1980, but only three major floods.
OK, maybe I should cut Fitzpatrick a break here because he’s trying to do something about the flooding. Fair enough.

But as I read more about this, I came across this link to the testimony of Carol R. Collier, the executive director of the Delaware River Basin Commission, before the U.S. House of Representatives on August 15th. She provided a list of flood mitigation recommendations on page 5.

Of her 10 recommendations, a flood mitigation plan involving New York City’s reservoirs is listed as part of number 8. Ahead of this on her list are items such as encouraging support and local adoption of FEMA-approvable flood and/or hazard mitigation plans, increasing the priority of federal and state funding for building elevations and acquisitions in flood-prone communities, targeting FEMA map modernization funds to municipalities where flood conditions have changed due to development, strengthening and unifying floodplain regulations basin wide, and implementing best management practices for stormwater control.

However, following up on these recommendations is not something that can be turned into a newspaper headline or sound bite for an advertising campaign in an election year, so Mikey has decided to go after New York City first (it would be nice if Fitzpatrick would follow up on the other recommendations instead and let us know if any progress is being made).

And how would we benefit if New York City’s reservoirs were lowered?

Collier said lowering levels in the reservoirs would reduce flooding, but perhaps only by an inch in Bucks…Still, she pointed out that a reduction of flooding by 1 inch could help Yardley homeowners who might have an inch of water flood their homes.
I can assure you that Carol Collier is smart enough to know that residents in Bucks County did not lose their homes over an inch of flooding. As for Mikey, his letter to Rendell in an attempt to persuade New York City to lower their own reservoir levels is, quite literally, better than nothing.

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