Sunday, June 26, 2011

Protect bayside property, or prepare to have it flooded

Mike Reagan in the Reporter (Vacaville, California): As a Solano County Supervisor, I've been fielding criticism about the board's recent unanimous decision to plan for climate change and sea-level rise. Residents should be aware that there are two reasons we need to do this.

The first is that the state has required it. The California Climate Action Team looked at reputable studies by climate scientists around the world and concluded that sea levels in and around California's coasts and bays could rise (relative to sea level in 2000) from 11 to 18 inches by mid-century and by 23 to 55 inches in 100 years.

The potential inundation of water could affect up to 270,000 people in the San Francisco Bay and Delta communities, flooding 213,000 acres of property, $62 billion worth of structures at the shoreline alone, and billions of dollars in critical transportation, public health and educational assets. That's why the state has required its agencies and local governments to plan how to handle a 16-inch sea-level rise by mid-century and a 55-inch rise by 2100.

While the probability of that magnitude of rise is actually very small -- on the order of between 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000 -- it is nevertheless responsible to plan a defense against a potential threat that could be devastating to bayside communities. Besides, we already have seen increases in 100-year and 200-year floods. These infrastructure investments will address those concerns, too.

The other reason we need to develop our own plan is that, if we don't, a more radical one will be forced upon us….

Locator map of Solano County, California

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