New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has ruled out the construction of a flood barrier to protect the city from future storms like Hurricane Sandy.
Bloomberg said he was not convinced that a barrier would deliver value for money. Instead he urged building owners to focus on flood resilience such as removing backup generators from basements.
“In terms of [what can be done to better protect] infrastructure - some of it is practical reality,” said Bloomberg. “We live on an island; we are very concentrated; there are economics involved. There are risks when you have those factors,” he said, adding that the energy and transport infrastructure knocked out by Sandy was too widespread to be defended by engineered structures.
“We should learn from this disaster”
“Even if you spend a fortune I am not sure you would get value for it,” he said.
“What we have to do is learn,” he said. “It would help if you didn’t put generators in the basement, and it would help if you tested them more. There is work do on those kinds of things,” he said.
However New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo did not rule out some form of engineered solution, and said “a lot of money” would need to be spent looking at options.
“We should learn from this disaster,” said Cuomo highlighting that climate change meant the city might have to plan for such floods every four or five years,” he said.
“This city grew up because of its harbour; its location. We have to now protect ourself from it. How to make sure that next time there is a 14 foot (4m) surge that Manhattan is not flooded.”