Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Unnatural Disaster

PostedSeptember 2, 2005

Download File (mp3)

Wetlands are nature's buffer from flooding, but in New Orleans, and many other places in the country, they've been destroyed by development.  Vic Baker, a University of Arizona flood expert, thinks we ought to take advantage of natural flood barriers rather than build over them.  He says man-made flood barriers can simply give a false sense of security.  The levees that gave way in New Orleans weren't built to withstand a Category 4 hurricane because the costs of a sufficient barrier were deemed to be too high.  Baker says the levees may have actually made the situation even worse…creating an unnaturally high wall of water that released all at once when the levees gave way.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.