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Dutch help California’s Bay Area plan for sea level rise

Submitted by on 31 May, 2022 – 4:32 pm
How to plan for rising sea level, an abstract concept for many Californians still drew serious consideration of engineers, designers and urban planners from the Netherlands and the U.S. at a symposium on Monday.

A panel of experts sponsored by the Dutch government submitted a report outlining strategies to address sea level rise in San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta based on the value of a year of research in partnership with conservation Francisco Bay Development and the Commission.

With 50 percent of the Netherlands below sea level, the Dutch have been perfecting perfection floods in 600 years.

The inevitable effects of climate change on California, and how cities can adapt to them, are beginning to receive more attention from policy makers. While no one knows exactly how rising sea levels will be developed with 100 or 200 years from now, experts agree more frequent and severe floods will be part of it.

Avoid sea level rise is now impossible. Bay has increased from 8 inches from the early 20th century, and scientists in California and everyone accepts the Bay Area, in particular, can expect to experience the sea level rise of up to 16 inches for the middle century and up to 55 inches by 2100.

Extreme storms increase the risk of annual flooding of 1 percent to 100 percent if no measures are taken to protect the coast Bay Area, which could threaten 270,000 people, according to Pacific Institute. Development along the coast is currently valued at $ 62 billion.

How to plan a future in which some of the real property that is threatened by storm surges – a little longer than what the planners of today will live to see – is the crucial question, said Will Travis, executive director Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

“We are in the same position as the captain of the Titanic. At the time he looked up it was too late – he was going to hit (the iceberg),” said Travis. “We have to stop trying to protect the Bay Area so it is.

Instead, we have to design for how it will be in the future. ”

That the future may involve the dismantling of development in some places and let the stream run its course, the report said. Local leaders may decide that some areas, such as the Port of Oakland and regional airports, are too valuable to lose and must be protected at all costs. Other areas could be transformed to incorporate the rising tide in the heart of a city.

The key to these questions is to start now, especially in several major events on the edge of the bay waiting for approval, including Treasure Island and a site in the Cargill Salt in Redwood City, Calif. These areas were identified in the report as “hot spots” for the bay, which means they represent the types of development most at risk from rising sea levels.

“Just as in an emergency room, making these policy decisions will be difficult,” said Travis. “It may be better to leave some places, then to allow houses to be built and then try to protect them from flooding.”

Frustratingly little is known about how well protected the Bay area is a serious flood, even now, according to the report (East Bay cities are expected to prepare for a once in a century of floods, but the coasts of the Netherlands Netherlands armored hatches and other equipment strong enough to withstand a once-in-10 ,000-strike year since the North Sea.)

While many of the most vulnerable and valuable of the Bay Area are protected by the federal government-certified levees, they were all built before planners realized how rising sea levels could change the whole equation.

The simple construction of higher levees is not a silver bullet, however. The Dutch came to that conclusion in 1995 after severe flooding although the estuaries of the interior made them rethink the policy outside walls of each section of river. They invented a new concept called “Living with Water”, designed to enhance the rising sea level. They built houses and let the water flow beneath them. The government purchased agricultural land along the waterway and became tidal wetlands, which naturally absorb water.

“People realize that the levees can not raise forever. If something goes wrong, you have a whole town that was flooded in an instant. Water is a fact – we have to do something about it,” said David Van Raalte , project manager for the pilot project between the Netherlands and California, and school principal in Arcadis, an international engineering and consulting.

Instead of proposing a series of design solutions tailored for each space “Bay Area hot” based on a Dutch model, the report offers a new way of thinking about what types of development should be in what area. Areas with high economic value could continue to fill the bay and expand with the help of the dikes and levees. Another option is a “tide of development that encompasses,” could mean urban tidal channels carved in the suburbs or in parking lots that hold rainwater underground.

The Dutch government has established similar partnerships in most regions of the world’s most vulnerable waters, including Louisiana, Indonesia, Yangzee Delta in China and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, aiming to share experiences and learn from others.

The Dutch government spent 120,000 euros (176,000 dollars) in the pilot project of the Bay Area and plans to invest another 100,000 euros for additional research in California where the state can match the money.

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