19 Dec 2011

Paying for floods

RM sent me this article discussing the release of new FEMA flood maps that will show some areas to be under a greater threat of floods.

The responses to this sensible, scientific exercise -- and the resulting changes in flood insurance policies -- are funny (sad):
Rice grower Tara Brocker, who lives and farms south of Nicolaus at the confluence of the Sacramento and Feather rivers, said the floodplain restrictions will likely convert agricultural communities like hers into ghost towns.
Yes, that's because it's not a good idea to live in a place that's likely to be underwater.
"For a lot of farmers, they might have financing on their operation and when they get remapped, their lender will say, 'You are in an A zone now; you have to purchase flood insurance.' This can increase one's insurance costs four to six times," Gallagher said.
Yes, because the objective measure of your risk went UP. That's how insurance works.
"We believe most people will agree that agriculture makes sense as the best use for floodplains," said Elisa Noble, director of livestock, public lands and natural resources for the California Farm Bureau Federation. "However, agricultural and rural communities need to be compensated somehow for bearing this increased risk."
No, you have to STOP building facilities on flood plains, plant annual crops, take the free fertility that comes from a flood, and move on. You can't just keep asking for more money. (Well, I guess you can, but don't moan if you don't get it.)

Bottom Line: Don't expect special favors when you live in a flood plain -- even if you have a past experience of special favors. Stupidity cannot go on forever.


Tim in Albion said...

"Stupidity cannot go on forever."

Do you have some evidence to back up that claim? :-/

Mr. Kurtz said...

Boy, some farmers are all for "sound science" when presented with questionable data about fisheries and so forth; and not without reason. But when presented with darned good peer reviewed science (and science that models a much simpler thing, the amount of space necessary to accommodate a given flow of water over a given amount to time)they howl.
Our friends in the real estate and insurance industries have benefited from the giant water projects far more than farmers have. And nobody chides them for "subsidies" coming from those ancient government stimulus programs. If Florida (or New Orleans, or...) is any example, the risks of idiotic building schemes will be socialized, lest the "little guy" gets hurt. It's so much fairer that way.

The floor of the Sacramento Valley is one of the most dangerous flood plains in the world. The San Joaquin is a little better since they have more permeable soils, fewer giant winter storms, and more room (and time)to get out of the way.

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