During my "Morning News Briefings" I was informed that a Congressman Garret Graves was pushing forward the Comite River Diversion Plan. Or maybe just spending a bit of time updating the now 12+ year old plan.
Not being a water flow engineer and not really liking the formula of calculating the amount of water flow in an open ditch.
(Learn about waterflow and ditches.)
I have to say the Comite River Diversion Plan is a sound plan only if the following is included with the plan.
1. Elevate all building structures to the minimum above ground height required by our NFIP / FEMA Flood Maps.
Elevation needs to be part of the plan or floods like the 1983, 1977, 2016 will always be looked at like a Thousand year flood.
According to the plan, the Amite river would be 1.5 feet lower were the Comite and Amite combine.
In the case of the 1983 flood it would be safe to say if the pumps all worked and the gates all opened and they for some reason or by an act of God lowered the Amite river enough to cause a back-flow NORTH many miles to allow the diversion of 11 inches of rain over Denham Springs to be pumped into the Mississippi North of the City of Baker all would have been saved.
In the case of the 2016 flood which would have been once again the "Thousand Year Event" we needed to pump more than 2 times the amount that the Comite River Diversion Plan would be able to handle. Once again, we would need to pump water North many miles to divert it to the Northern Bayous and the Mississippi River north of Baker.
At the estimated 1.5 feet drop in the Amite by the diversion plan the 2016 flood water level south and southeast of the Amite / Comite would have been 43.3 feet. (46.2 - 3.1 = 43.3 feet)
If everyone elevated their homes to the new BFE established April 2012 most everyone would have had very minimum flood damage. But that would have required every home and business to elevate to at least the BFE of 2012.
I'm not an engineer but I can read a topographical map.
Without every home and business elevating each time the FEMA Flood Maps change you can't dig holes fast enough.
Not to mention the fact you will never be able to predict 30" rain falls over specific geographical areas.
The Congressman says on his website that it will cost $300,000,000.00 to build.
I want to know the total value of all protected assets that this $300,000,000.00 will protect.
The original costs set for 2008 - 2012 it was stated and published;
FEDERAL COST SHARE $134,000,000
NON-FEDERAL COST SHARE $ 53,000,000
TOTAL PROJECT COST $187,000,000
In 2019-2020 the cost was updated to $600,000,000 with a completion date of 2022.
Now the costs are estimated to be over $900,000,000 with a completion date of 2025.
I know even if the project was completed our home still would have had 12" of water in it.
The home was built to BFE established in the 50's, matched the BFE of the area until 2012 which magically made our BFE 3 feet higher than our homes floors.
Until the project includes elevation, we will always see flooding.
If you say, BFE this year is 3 feet higher than your foundation floor then that floor has to go up, help elevate so the $300,000,000.00 project that lowers water in our area by 1.5 feet actually makes us a Flood Zone protected by the project instead of a flood zone no matter how high we elevate.
I estimated that all the homes and businesses that flooded could have been elevated for less than $300,000,000.
Now I'm thinking we could have built everyone in the protected zone a new home better and higher off the ground than what FEMA required. For $1 billion in Federal Tax Dollars Louisiana once again shows it's not willing to work the rivers it has now, but create new rivers that run up hill. Have you all figured out who's going to pay for the maintenance of the pumps to make a $1 billion project sound like it was always a good plan?
Honestly, where do we find the engineers that price quote projects of this nature?
- 2003 - $174 million
- 2008 - $187 million
- 2018 - $300 million
- 2020 - $600 million
- 2023 - $907 million
This project was labeled bad in the 90's after it was first dreamed up in the 80's. We are not learning to do anything more than spend money on the "Chance" of rain in a "Selected Zone".
Note: it was stated that not a single contractor in the state of Louisiana was able to manage this project so it was outsourced. Of all the rivers and canals in the state it was reported that not a single company was recognized as a "capable" project contractor.