Communication Important When Dealing With Levee Safety

Recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District has been conducting levee safety risk communication meetings with local elected officials and levee board members.  Why are they having these meetings?

The 2007 Water Resource Development Act directed the Corps of Engineers establish and maintain a database with an inventory of the nation’s levees.

In 2010 the district initiated their Level Risk Assessment of each of the levees in their portfolio to help them get a better understanding of the anticipated performance and risk associated with the levees in the district.

The risk assessment takes into account the current condition of the levee, how it is anticipated to perform under certain conditions and what are the consequences if the levee fails to perform under certain conditions and what are the consequences if the levee fails prior to overtopping and at overtopping.

The Corps’ 2015 “Policy Guidance Letter on Placing Levees in a Risk Context, Emphasis on Communication Sponsor Engagement” establishes guidance for communicating flood risks determined from the risk assessment and inspection of the levees.  “Mostly this is the right thing to do, through levee inspections and risk assessments we have information that could potentially save lives and reduce property damage,” said Elmo Webb, Little Rock District, levee safety program manager.”

“The meetings with levee boards and local elected officials have been very helpful,” said Webb.

Elmo Web (center), Little Rock District levee safety program manager, talks levee safety with individuals associated with the Fourche Island and Woodson levees near Little Rock, Ark.
Elmo Web (center), Little Rock District levee safety program manager, talks levee safety with individuals associated with the Fourche Island and Woodson levees near Little Rock, Ark.

The meetings have helped accomplish numerous objectives including, improving sponsor engagement and understanding of levee safety activities, improve sponsor and community understanding of the benefits and flood risks associated with levee systems, promote actions to reduce and manage the associated flood risks, build a foundation for shared responsibility in developing and implementing flood risk management solutions for levee systems, and help the sponsor communicate the risk to those living behind the levees so the residents know what could happen if the levee fails, so they can make a personal decision if they want to continue to live behind the levee.

When dealing with flood risk don’t assume that the residents and business behind levees know about the status of the levee.

Levee safety risk communication meetings with levee boards and local official will continue throughout the coming months.

For more information about your levee system please contact your local levee board or elected officials.

SWD Regional Priorities

Our mission is to deliver vital engineering solutions in collaboration with our partners, to secure our Nation, energize our economy, and reduce our risk from disaster.

To help us ensure that we continue to deliver value to the Nation—in a time of aging infrastructure and intense competition for scarce resources—the Southwestern Division operates from the perspective of an Azimuth and Regional Priorities, developed by our leadership and vetted through our partnerships.

Our Regional Priorities are an expression of where we have and will continue to deliver unique value to the Nation. They directly enable us to accomplish our mission.

Our Regional Priorities help us continue to strengthen national security, energize the economy and reduce risk from disaster.