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Professor Brian Bledsoe calls for new ways to communicate flood risks in Washington Post editorial

Brian Bledsoe, a professor in the University of Georgia College of Engineering, has written an editorial for the Washington Post which calls for news ways to communicate flood risks and the dangers they pose to infrastructure. 

"Cities in the United States have tried to regulate development in “100-year floodplains” and provide maps of flood hazard zones to the public for several decades," writes Bledsoe. "Yet most people are still surprised, if not astonished, to learn that the 100-year flood at a given location has more than a 1 in 4 chance of occurring within the term of a 30-year mortgage. For most of us, this 26 percent chance our home will be flooded before we have a chance to pay it off is troubling if not unacceptable."

Bledsoe, director of the Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems (IRIS) at UGA, argues the nation needs to invest in better flood hazard maps and update them to transparently show the uncertainty in flood levels due to model inaccuracies and potential changes in weather, urbanization and drainage. In addition, he calls for investments in hybrid systems of traditional “gray” and natural “green” infrastructure that work together along with nonstructural measures such as insurance reform, zoning, buyout and relocation to improve outcomes across a wide range of future extreme weather scenarios.

Read the full editorial, "We still don't know how to talk about floods," in the Washington Post.

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