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New Orleans could ood again this year


NEW ORLEANS is no better protected against flooding than when hurricane Katrina wreaked its trail of destruction last August, US engineers have revealed.

Their report found that poor design and subsidence led to the failure of the city's flood defences when hurricane Katrina hit on 29 August 2005.

But despite US$820M (£440M) being spent on repairing and improving defences, the city is just as likely to ood today if a category four storm struck.

Only ood defences damaged during the storm have been upgraded, leaving surviving infrastructure as vulnerable as it was pre-Katrina, says the report by the Interagency Performance Evaluation Taskforce (IPET).

This leaves the city at risk.

Formed from more than 40 organisations and led by the US Army Corps of Engineers, IPET this week released the nal draft of its eight month investigation into why the ood defences failed.

It concluded that two-thirds of the water that owed into the city came through breaches in the defences, which could have been avoided if designers had taken into account New Orleans' subsidence and the poor quality of foundation soils.

ICE vice president Scott Steedman worked on the IPET report and said that subsidence over 35 years meant that some levees were up to 1m lower than they were originally designed to be, allowing greater overtopping, leading to scouring and the erosion of earthen levees.

Defences built on weak foundation soils failed as water opened up a gap between the supporting soil and oodwall (NCE 16 March).

To view the report go to www. nceplus. co. uk

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