How Charleston must face up to flooding

Jul 20, 2019

At some point, there’s no “fix” for flooding whether it’s from a 1,000-year downpour or sea rise. So you have to work with what you’ve got -- at every level from households to big business and government.

That’s one of the big takeaways from Dan Goedbloed’s talk Thursday as part of Charleston’s Dutch Dialogues. It’s a given, he says, that storms intensified by climate change will occasionally overwhelm the city’s under-construction deep-tunnel pumping system. Streets will become canals and green space will become lakes -- at least until they can be pumped out at low tide. But we can learn to live with it and, over time, reduce the financial impact to zero in 100-year rainfall events. You read that right: no damage.

So Mr. Goedbloed, an ex-Rotterdam stormwater engineer who’s now leading Amsterdam’s Rainproof campaign, is bullish on Charleston coping with its flooding. He takes an “every raindrop counts” approach.As far as rainfall flooding goes, the city government will need to lead the way by retaining and reusing water in parks and other public spaces. Institutions, big business and developers will need to take on projects of their own -- some radical, some mundane. Think harvesting rain for drinking water, roads that contain runoff, porous parking surfaces, retention ponds, underground storage and reuse systems.

Entire story here.