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What Can MSY Learn From The Dutch?  
User currently offlineJmc1975 From Israel, joined Sep 2000, 3253 posts, RR: 15
Posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1598 times:

Since the disaster in New Orleans had been anticipated for decades due to its below sea level elevation, what can the USA, Louisiana and New Orleans learn from the Netherlands? Apparently, the Netherlands built a complex network of dikes (levees not lesbians) to prevent flooding from the North Sea after great devastation in 1953. How can new dikes be constructed to save New Orleans in the future. Today, a Dutch official spoke and showed a great deal of surprise that this lack of preventative planning and engineering occurred in an advanced nation such as the US. Any thoughts?


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20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20394 posts, RR: 62
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1587 times:

Quoting Jmc1975 (Thread starter):
Apparently, the Netherlands built a complex network of dikes (levees not lesbians) to prevent flooding from the North Sea after great devastation in 1953.

And improved upon constantly. A nice set of sea doors, and reclaiming marshlands instead of letting them fade away would go a long way towards protecting New Orleans in the future.

See: http://www.deltawerken.com/Hollandse-IJssel-storm-barrier/322.html



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineArniePie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1571 times:

Most of the Dutch and Belgian high school students visit the "deltawerken" at least once during there time in school.
These series of construction projects are a very interesting touristic attraction , so for all you tourists that normally only see Amsterdam when they visit the Netherlands might I suggest you spend 2 or 3 days around the deltaworks.
Certainly for all the technomaniacs (as I am) go see the "sluizen" and while you're at it you can also have a quick visit at the Ship-elevators in the Ardennes (Strépy-Lieu and Roncierre)



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User currently offline4holer From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2997 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1566 times:

Don't know much about the dikes up there, but I'd be curious to see how they'd hold up to a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane with a 30 foot storm surge.


Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7760 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1561 times:

The Dutch flood defense system is pretty impressive. I've seen the show on Nat'l Geographic several times which discussed the system, including the new harbor doors at Rotterdam.

Last night on Discovery there was a very good show talking about the depletion of Mississippi delta marshlands, Katrina, and how that played together.

Long and short of it was that an alarming amount of protective marshland and barrier islands are lost every year. And what remains is dying a slow death. Much of this is due to the system of leeves and dams up and down the Mississippi designed to stop seasonal flooding. So part of the reconstruction of these Gulf communities will need to include smarter leeves and dams as well as a large scale wetland restoration.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1556 times:

Quoting 4holer (Reply 3):
Don't know much about the dikes up there, but I'd be curious to see how they'd hold up to a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane with a 30 foot storm surge.

Agreed. I don't see anything on the site that indicates the Dutch system would be able to protect against a 10 meter storm surge across a hundred miles of beaches.


User currently offlineArniePie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1552 times:

Quoting 4holer (Reply 3):
Don't know much about the dikes up there, but I'd be curious to see how they'd hold up to a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane with a 30 foot storm surge

If I remember correctly it's designed to withstand 40-50ft stormsurge with hurricane winds.
Don't forget that 40-50% is below sea level (of the entire country) and also holds the majority of the population (randstad), we are talking 10-12 million people.
Also due to its location on the Northsea it sees a big tidal difference at most places so you can imagine what happens at high tide storm surge with heavy winds.



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User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20394 posts, RR: 62
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1542 times:

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 5):
I don't see anything on the site that indicates the Dutch system would be able to protect against a 10 meter storm surge across a hundred miles of beaches.

New Orleans has 100 miles of beaches? That's not the question at hand. It's about protecting a city built below sea level in a better way than with the current levee system.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7760 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1539 times:

The ferocity and regularity of North Sea storms is nothing to put down. The regularity that major floods have occured in the past few hundred years, until to completion of the last major leeve section, was pretty high... usually ~50 years or thereabouts. Major floods happened in 1918 and 1953 during the 20th century. And like Arnie said, huge portions of the Netherlands are on reclaimed land that is at or below (and sinking) sea level.


Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineSchoenorama From Spain, joined Apr 2001, 2440 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1518 times:

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 5):
Agreed. I don't see anything on the site that indicates the Dutch system would be able to protect against a 10 meter storm surge across a hundred miles of beaches.

The problem New Orleans still faces today isn't the 10 meter storm surge but rather broken levees. Only two levees have broken in only 3 different places but this otherwise minimal damage has had and still has a huge impact: 80% of the city flooded.

Levee maintenance is very important but often underestimated, even in a country such as Holland (which BTW needs to make many of its dikes higher as global warming increases sea level). In the case of NO, I'd say that the existing levees should be made higher and additional levees should be installed to minimize the risk of inundating large portions of the city in case any of the levees fails.



Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1509 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 7):
New Orleans has 100 miles of beaches?

Beaches/coastline/lakefront property whatever you want to call it.

Quoting Schoenorama (Reply 9):
The problem New Orleans still faces today isn't the 10 meter storm surge but rather broken levees.

The levees failed because the water level exceeded the height of the levee. Subsequent flow of water over the levee eroded it to the point that the levee failed. So storm surge was the root cause of the failure.


User currently offline4holer From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2997 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1488 times:

Quoting Schoenorama (Reply 9):
In the case of NO, I'd say that the existing levees should be made higher and additional levees should be installed to minimize the risk of inundating large portions of the city in case any of the levees fails.

If you are suggesting a kind of grid within the perimeter levee system that would compartmentalize the city and limit the scale of any breach... That was my thinking as well.



Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3353 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1446 times:

Another thing that could be learned is to prepare for worst case scenarios.

When a few years ago some of the rivers flooded over, people where evacuated and pumps and emergency pumps where flown in before the floods happened. Experts in water management where flying over the dikes 24/7 with special equipment to measure if the dikes where holding. I have not seen anything like that in NO even though they KNEW the storm was coming.

Why where people left behind in the city? The excuse that they have no car of their own is laughable. The US army has plenty of trucks and busses can be used as well. Where were the pumps that might have alleviated the situation. Where were the dike inspectors, where were the (emergency-) dike builders?

Right now you have officers/soldiers shooting looters when people are dying... priorities anyone?



Attamottamotta!
User currently offlineArniePie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1439 times:

Quoting Petertenthije (Reply 12):
Where were the pumps that might have alleviated the situation. Where were the dike inspectors, where were the (emergency-) dike builders?

All in hindsight.
The authority's in the NO area will most probably agree with you now.

This is the way it always goes with disasters all over the world, first underestimate the danger, then be baffled by its effects and then start working at better protection.
I for one am most curious as to what will be build (probably some engineering marvels) and what will be done about training and setting up organizations that will deal with these specific dangers.



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User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3353 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1433 times:

Quoting ArniePie (Reply 13):
All in hindsight.

Nonsense. They had seen this storm coming for days. They knew their dikes where not up to huricane-cat5 standards and that therefor they could (should!) have assumed some dikes might break. Hindsight has nothing to do with it, bad preparation has!



Attamottamotta!
User currently offlineArniePie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1428 times:

Quoting Petertenthije (Reply 14):
Nonsense. They had seen this storm coming for days. They knew their dikes where not up to huricane-cat5 standards and that therefor they could (should!) have assumed some dikes might break. Hindsight has nothing to do with it, bad preparation has!

Peter, I know you are right but you shouldn't underestimate what psychology or believe can do with humans
Reminds me of some other catastrophy that happened some years ago; the Avianca 707 crash at JFK, the crew also "believed" they could make it and were fooling themselves.
Same goes for the authority's in NO and surrounding area; they probably also believed (not justified) that the dikes would hold, the "it'll be okay feeling".

A tough way to learn a much needed lesson.



[edit post]
User currently offlineGkirk From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2000, 24912 posts, RR: 56
Reply 16, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1426 times:

I believe that pre 9/11, the Americans had thought that 3 things could cause catastrophic incidents - a Terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in California and a major hurricane hitting New Orleans.
They should have been prepared.



When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7943 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1412 times:

Quoting Petertenthije (Reply 12):
. Where were the dike inspectors, where were the (emergency-) dike builders?

After 9/11 much of the money that was formerly spent on homeland protection other than protection from terrorists went into exactly that, the battling against terrorists, which appeared to be of a primary concern.



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1367 times:

Quoting Petertenthije (Reply 12):
When a few years ago some of the rivers flooded over, people where evacuated and pumps and emergency pumps where flown in before the floods happened. Experts in water management where flying over the dikes 24/7 with special equipment to measure if the dikes where holding. I have not seen anything like that in NO even though they KNEW the storm was coming.

You seem not to understand the problem. The levees didn't break, the water simply rose over the top then erosion of flowing water kicked in and destroyed the levee. No amount of special equipment or inspection regimen will prevent that -- only a taller levee will prevent that. A 10 meter rise in the water along 100 miles of coast or beach over a period of 4 or 5 hours is a lot of water, no pump would be able to keep up.

Quoting Petertenthije (Reply 12):
Why where people left behind in the city? The excuse that they have no car of their own is laughable. The US army has plenty of trucks and busses can be used as well. Where were the pumps that might have alleviated the situation. Where were the dike inspectors, where were the (emergency-) dike builders?

When was the last time a major city in your country was completely evacuated? It is not easy, maybe you should try it sometime and see how well your country does.


User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3353 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1353 times:

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 18):
When was the last time a major city in your country was completely evacuated? It is not easy, maybe you should try it sometime and see how well your country does.

The 30th of january 1995 the cities and villages of Millegen, Druten and West Maas en Waal where completely evacuated, and the cities of Ubbergen and Nijmegen where evacuated partially. A total of 250,000 people where displaced. They where all pulled out in a matter of days when it becamse apparant the floods might turn bad. People were moved by own transport where possible, but those incapable of moving themselves where moved with the assistance of the military. Thankfully, everyone could return just 5 days later. Needless to say though that we had prepared for keeping people evacuated longer then five days.

Not as grand a scale as would probably have been required for New Orleans, but for a small country as NL still a nice feat I'd say.

Any other questions?



Attamottamotta!
User currently offlineLifelinerOne From Netherlands, joined Nov 2003, 1916 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (8 years 11 months 15 hours ago) and read 1320 times:

The Dutch water management has always focussed on prevention, rather on evacuating like in other countries. We can't do it the other way, because most of our population is living in an area way below sea-level. Since 1953 we are doing a good job and we do have the expertise and are helping other countries around the world.

With this case in New Orleans some measures the Dutch normally take would not be of any use. We photograph our dikes with F-16's to see if they are okay, but you couldn't fly these planes in the weather conditions in New Orleans.

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 18):
You seem not to understand the problem. The levees didn't break, the water simply rose over the top then erosion of flowing water kicked in and destroyed the levee. No amount of special equipment or inspection regimen will prevent that -- only a taller levee will prevent that. A 10 meter rise in the water along 100 miles of coast or beach over a period of 4 or 5 hours is a lot of water, no pump would be able to keep up.

I think you're right here. Just like us, you guys are learning it the hard way right now. I just hope we can be of some assistance if needed.

Cheers!  wave 



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