Flooding shows need for infrastructure investments

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Good afternoon everyone,

Recent flooding from the remnants of  Hurricane Ida in Wilmington and elsewhere brought home the need for infrastructure investments that go beyond fixing roads, bridges, and the electric grid.

The flooding from a swollen Brandywine Creek was indeed unusual. But nowadays, unusual has turned into commonplace due to the stepped-up intensity of storms and upstream development that increases runoff. 

In northern Delaware, lower-income neighborhoods are clearly more vulnerable to flooding. Over the years, flooding was commonplace in the Southbridge neighborhood near the Christina River.

This time around, flooding took place along the Brandywine.

In 2019, Delaware Public Media took a close look at Southbridge’s issues that include constant flooding. Help is on the way with the construction of a wetland park that can store water.

Longer-term, sea-level rise is a concern, especially at high tide in Southbridge. Downpours will only make things worse.

Similar concerns have emerged along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor route. A study from the passenger railroad outlined threats to its roadbed in Delaware.

What can be done? 

When it comes to the Brandywine, a new playbook may be needed, given the relative rarity of flooding up until now.

As we all know, the so-called 100-year floods often come every few years.

Dealing with that reality may include an emergency alert system (perhaps the old-fashioned siren) for flood-prone areas as well as more upstream monitoring of runoff.

The response to the flooding, while initially criticized, appears to be moving in the right direction.

It is clear that studies and possible solutions to deal with flood-prone areas need to be launched immediately. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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