The paradox of flood preparedness
April 23, 2009

The floods in Fargo, North Dakota, this spring were record-breaking, and much of the rest of the country probably doesn't even realize that things are only slowly getting back to normal. But even as the floodwaters were still on the rise, it became apparent that Fargo might've been less prepared for the flooding of 2009 because it attracted less attention in the floods of 1997 than Grand Forks, which was hit badly. Fargo officials have brought a proposal for a special sales-tax initiative up for a public vote later this summer to help cover the $200 million cost of permanent flood-control measures in the area. Fargo officials rightly recognize that the public tends to have an extremely short memory for the need for disaster-preparation projects. Flood-control measures and civil-defense sirens can be expensive to install and maintain, but the value is generally left unrecognized until disasters actually strike. So while the public may resent paying for some projects when there's no imminent threat, when an investment saves lives -- like the tornado siren installed just two weeks before the F5 tornado in Parkersburg, Iowa -- those who showed the foresight to take action before the need became imminent ought to be thanked.

We can help you with flood-protection equipment like pump stations, flood-control gates, and portable dams. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

April 2009
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last revised April 2009