Acquisition and Relocation

The most effective measure to reduce losses is to keep the floodplains free of development. However, in many river valleys in the world, it is too late for that option. One of the most promising strategies for reducing flood losses is the public acquisition of developed land susceptible to flooding (Conrad, 1998; www.fema. gov/mit/homsups.htm). The authorization for U.S. federal cost sharing for relocation is more than 30 years old. However, only recently have communities, tired by chronic flooding, taken advantage of funding packages and relocated. In one case, the entire town of Valmeyer, Illinois, was relocated. The town had a long history of floods. In 1943, 1944, and 1947 unusually high levels of the Mississippi caused flooding in the nearby bottomlands affecting Valmeyer. After the 1947 floods, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raised the levees protecting the reach of the flood-plain to 47 ft. On August 1, 1993, the flood overtopped the levees inundating Valmeyer, prompting its ultimate relocation. Since 1993 nearly 20,000 properties in 36 states and one territory have been bought out and over 25,000 families have moved from floodplains (http:/lwww.nwf.org/nwflpubslhighergroundlintro.html).

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