Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Flood-prevention projects can enhance people’s well-being in underrecognized ways » Yale Climate Connections

As seas rise and weather becomes more extreme, many communities are investing in flood prevention projects.

Some are creating rain gardens or other green spaces that absorb and hold water. Others are restoring coastal dunes that can help protect inland areas.

These projects can be expensive. So Tess Doeffinger of the University of Alabama says that as cities weigh the pros and cons, it’s important to realize that flood prevention can do more than just protect property.

For example, reducing flooding also helps protect people’s health and well-being.

“There’s a reduced chance of disease outbreak after a storm or a flood event,” she says. “Just even that extra sense of safety — so mentally, psychologically — having that there can also help.”

Doeffinger encourages communities to design projects that help residents in other ways, too.

“Could you add in an additional recreation area, like as a buffer between a river and the city, like a city walk, things like that, that could actually add some additional space for the city for people to use?” she says.

Doeffinger says talking about and designing for these co-benefits can help engage residents and attract investors. And their support can help ensure that critical flood prevention projects get done.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media

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